Special Olympics, a Life-Changing Experience!
By Office of Communication
Posted on May 29, 2012, May 29, 2012

More than 3,000 athletes descended upon Arlington during Memorial Day weekend for the Special Olympics Texas2012 Summer Games, which were held at UT Arlington.

Billed as the largest amateur sporting event in Texas, the games featured track and field, basketball, gymnastics, soccer, tennis and cycling competitions. A pre-games equestrian competition was held earlier this month in Bryan, Texas.

"his was the seventh year in a row the Summer Games were held at UT Arlington,"said Ramonica Jones, an organization spokesperson.

"Our athletes had a wonderful time, as well as their families, friends and more than 2,000 volunteers."

Each year, SOTX hosts more than 300 competitions at area, regional and state levels. Each division is based on age, gender and ability level, with all athletes receiving medals or ribbons for participation.

SOTX provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, serving about 44,000 Texans each year. According to the website, the organization's programs provide opportunities to "develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship."

Special events included a parade of athletes, a wellness fair and a group victory dance held during the closing ceremony. On Saturday, soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas visited the athlete village for a show-and-tell performance with Army service dogs.

A highlight of the games is the Law Enforcement Torch Run, a volunteer-led, $12 million-plus fundraising event and a SOTX tradition since the mid-1980s. The event kicked off at the state capitol in mid-May and culminated with a run to UT-Arlington's Maverick Stadium on Friday night.

"I'd like to thank all the volunteers and the police and everybody that participates in the summer games, it was a blessing,"posted an athlete on the group's Facebook page.

"It was our first time to volunteer and it was a life-changing experience!"wrote another participant. View SOTX's Summer Games photos on Facebook.

Headlines, News, Sports