Sports competition expected to attract more than a thousand athletes from across Lone Star State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : June 15, 2021
SAN ANTONIO – Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) 2021 Summer Games will be held Sept. 19-22 and hosted for the second time in a row by Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio—Inclusion City, USA, SOTX officials and partners announced today at the unique theme park.
The four-day gathering, which is free and open to the public, is SOTX’s largest competition of the year, and it’s expected to attract more than a thousand athletes from all around the state of Texas.
“We are so honored to be back at Morgan’s Wonderland for the second consecutive time,” said Tim Martin, SOTX CEO. “Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we weren’t able to hold the 2020 Summer Games, but we’re back, and the excitement among our athletes is off the charts. It’s safe to say they had their best time yet during the 50th anniversary Games in San Antonio in 2019. We cannot wait to watch them compete again and thoroughly enjoy themselves.”
“We’re delighted and proud to again host one of the largest Special Olympics events in the nation,” said Gordon Hartman, who with wife Maggie created Morgan’s Wonderland and spearheaded other ventures to assist the special-needs community. “We’re also eager to see the athletes return to San Antonio, to compete and to enjoy Morgan’s Wonderland and our new Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex.”
Summer Games highlights will include opening ceremonies on Sunday, Sept. 19, at Toyota Field, a Victory Dance that same evening at Morgan’s Wonderland Sports and a Victory Celebration on Monday evening, Sept. 20, at Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first and only theme park designed with those with special needs in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.
Another high point will be the inaugural Infinitus (meaning “unlimited”) Games from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Sept. 19 and 20, at new Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, 23215 Cibolo Vista. The Infinitus Games will offer athletes ages 3 and older, who because of their physical and/or developmental abilities, the opportunity to work on foundational motor skills to prepare them for possible competition in official SOTX events.
SOTX athletes will participate in one of five sports: athletics (track & field), cycling, gymnastics, soccer or tennis. Special Olympics athletes across the state have been training for their sport for a minimum of 12 weeks, while also participating at an area-level competition. They will be supported by more than a hundred coaches.
Martin announced that Pinch-A-Penny Pool-Patio-Spa (www.pinchapenny.com) will be presenting sponsor for the 2021 Summer Games. Hosted by Morgan’s Wonderland, the Games also will be presented by Spurs Sports and Entertainment, H-E-B, Energy Transfer, Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletónUSA, Southwest Dairy Farmers, Whataburger and the North East Independent School District of San Antonio. Statewide SOTX annual sponsors are the Law Enforcement Torch Run, H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Food Town, I.B.C, the Knights of Columbus, the City of Richardson Corporate Challenge, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and Toyota.
Martin issued a call for volunteers who will serve as officials, scorekeepers, award presenters and more. For information on volunteer opportunities, visit www.SOTX/SummerGames. During the 2019 Games, many volunteers came from San Antonio’s military community, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, commander of Joint Base San Antonio. She noted that military members “love to give back to those local communities where we serve.”
Announcement of the 2021 Summer Games also included an appearance by the H. M. King High School cheerleaders from Kingsville and remarks by two Unified Sports athletes – SOTX athlete Josiah Tolliver and Unified partner Caleb Carter of Judson High School. Unified Sports teams enable Special Olympics athletes to participate in sports activities with peers without disabilities. In addition, numerous first responders that organize the Law Enforcement Torch Run immediately preceding the Summer Games attended the announcement.
Martin explained that SOTX is “committed to providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.” In 1969, Special Olympics Texas held its first competition. The Summer Games are part of the Inclusion Revolution, Special Olympics’ mission to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities worldwide and create inclusive communities.Hartman said San Antonio – proclaimed in 2015 by the City Council as “Inclusion City, USA” – is the perfect location for the Summer Games because of the community’s ongoing emphasis on accessibility and inclusiveness for people of all abilities.
About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 58,800 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.