ACTIVITY CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
“I have checked many websites for weather reports and it still looks like a fair amount of morning rain and very cold temps. When I got to work this morning, I had some emails and voicemails from folks concerned about the cold/wet temperatures and some of the physical conditions some of their athletes have in regard to being out in that kind of weather for extended periods of time. I really feel like it is probably best for the majority if we cancel.” Kelly Monicatti, Sports Program Director, Special Olympics Minnesota
by Dennis Dalman
More than 300 athletes will converge Saturday, May 4 on Sartell, which is the host for this year’s Area 7 Special Olympics Minnesota.
The public is invited to cheer on the athletes on the grounds of the Sartell Middle School. The concession stand will be open during the event.
The athletes, who range in age from 8 to 60-plus, all live in a 10-county area of central Minnesota, Area 7, which is one of the 12 Special Olympics areas in the state.
The opening ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. on the middle-school grounds, with the first event starting at 9:30 a.m. The meet will go on all day and is expected to be finished at about 3:30 p.m.
Events will include running and walking races, high jump, running long jump, shot-put and wheelchair events.
All of the athletes are disabled in one way or another, but all have excelled in one or more athletic events.
Locally, the event is being coordinated by Ronelle Uran of the Sartell-St. Stephen School District’s Activities Office. Many coaches and athletes in the Sartell area have agreed to volunteer their time for the Saturday event, Uran noted.
Special Olympics Minnesota serves 7,100 athletes with intellectual disabilities, providing them with year-round sports training and chances to compete. Internationally, more than 2.5 million athletes from 200 countries participate in Special Olympics events.
The Special Olympics program was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and wife of Sargent Shriver, who was a member of the JFK administration. Since then, thousands of local Special Olympics camps worldwide host athletic events year-round, and World Special Olympics take place during various seasons every year.