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Special Olympics Ohio Games return for first time since 2019 this weekend

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Part of Ohio State’s campus is being transformed into an Olympic Village for the next three days.

What’s happening: More than 2,000 athletes from 83 local delegations are competing in the Special Olympics Ohio games over the weekend.

Why it matters: This is the first state meet since 2019 and represents one of the largest annual non-Buckeye events held on OSU’s campus.

What they’re saying: “We’re extremely excited,” Chad Highland, director of marketing and communications for Special Olympics Ohio, tells Axios. “It’s been a long road of resilience and patience.

  • “For a lot of these athletes, this is their one and only time of the year to all get together.”

State of play: It’s been a busy month for athletes and coaches. The largest Ohio delegation in state history earned nearly 50 medals two weeks ago at the USA Games in Orlando, Florida.

Zoom in: At this weekend’s state meet, Olympians will compete in eight sports: track and field, bocce, soccer, tennis, bowling, powerlifting, gymnastics and volleyball.

  • Participating athletes represent the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Columbus City Schools, and include delegations from Dublin, Gahanna, Grove City, Groveport, Hilliard, New Albany, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Whitehall and Worthington.

If you go: Competitions begin today from 2-5pm, with the opening ceremony at 7pm.

  • The games continue tomorrow from 7:30am-5pm and Sunday from 8am-12:30pm.
  • Organizers highly encourage the public to attend the free games and cheer on the athletes, from track events at Jesse Owens Stadium to gymnastics competitions at the Covelli Center.
  • Parking is free all weekend on campus.

Plus, Special Olympics Ohio is also seeking volunteers for a Sunday morning breakfast celebrating the athletes. Those interested should email organizer Karla Batt at [email protected]

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