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COVINGTON, LA (WGNO) – Special Olympics Louisiana (SOLA) announced they will return to Southeastern Louisiana University for State Summer Games on May 19-21. This marks the first Games at Southeastern since 2019 and the first three-day event since 2019. SOLA anticipates over 900 athletes, coaches, and Unified Partners will participate over the weekend, along with hundreds of spectators.

The competition begins on the morning of May 19th at Oak Knoll Country Club with golf. This will be the first time golf is offered at State Summer Games. Opening Ceremonies, with Emcee Ed Daniels from WGNO Sports, will take place in Strawberry Stadium at 7 p.m. During Opening Ceremonies, athletes will parade into Strawberry Stadium and hear from guest speakers.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics. Known honorably as the Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” into opening Ceremonies of local and state competitions. On May 19th at 7 pm, the Law Enforcement
Torch Run will conclude at State Summer Games with the Lighting of the Flame of Hope and will feature members of law enforcement and SOLA athletes from around the state.

Competition for athletics, bocce, tennis, and volleyball will kick off at 8 a.m. Saturday and run until approximately 5 p.m., followed by our famous Summer Games Dance that evening. And on Sunday around noon, the last of the games and competition will conclude. Volunteers are encouraged to register by clicking here. Volunteers will support the Games in a variety of roles including timers and scorers.

SOLA added the following information in a press release: “Along with the competition, there are other opportunities for our athletes and for the public to get involved. Our athletes will be able to take part in Healthy Athletes non-evasive health screenings and spend time in the Fan Zone, a special lounge area where athletes can relax between competitions. Finally, on Saturday, May 20th, we will host a Jambalaya Cookoff at Southeastern. Teams of four will each cook a signature jambalaya dish, not only to feed our athletes, but also to see who takes home the SOLA paddle for best jambalaya! Interested parties can register here: 2023 Summer Games Jambalaya Cookoff – Special Olympics Louisiana

John Guzzardo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Louisiana said, “We are beyond excited to return to Southeastern for our 2023 State Summer Games. This will mark our first multi-day event since the onset of the pandemic, and it truly shows the determination and resiliency of our Special Olympics Louisiana athletes who are eager to return to the playing fields this summer.”