More than 100 local athletes will compete in running, walking, track and field, swimming, and bocce at the West Virginia Area I Special Olympics – an event held at Wheeling Jesuit University for the last 16 years.
Students from Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Monongahela, and Ohio counties in West Virginia make up ‘Area I’ in the state.
Special Olympics offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in 32 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Special Olympics currently serves 3.7 million athletes, ages 8 years and above, in more than 170 countries.
Opening ceremonies for the event will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a parade of athletes and the inspirational carrying of the torch on the outdoor track. Activities will start at 1 p.m., with the day’s events concluding at 4 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony.
“We are always delighted to see the excitement expressed in students as they showcase their athletic abilities in various events. This is truly a community effort all around, and Wheeling Jesuit is proud to play a major role when it comes to serving others,” said Colleen Ryan Mayrand, director of Wheeling Jesuit’s Service for Social Action Center.
Hundreds of Wheeling Jesuit University student-athletes will also volunteer their time and be assigned a special Olympic athlete for the afternoon to help them with the day’s activities. Additionally, WJU student-athletes will offer free clinics for students between activities.
Also this year, dancing, arts and crafts, and photo opportunities with WJU’s mascot, Iggy, will take place in the McDonough Center.
Lunch will be served to all participants sponsored by the Wheeling Kiwanis Club, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive, and respected members of society through sports training and competition.
Those wishing to volunteer need to show up by 11:30 a.m. on the day of the event. Orientation and registration will take place in the lobby of the Alma Grace McDonough Center.