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Monday, January 22, 2018

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Special Olympics Texas 2017 Summer Games
Special Olympics Texas

May, 2017

2017 SOTX Summer Games

Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) 48th annual Summer Games return to The University of Texas at Arlington and surrounding area venues from Thursday, May 25 – Sunday, May 28. The event is SOTX’s largest competition of the year, featuring more than 3,000 athletes from all around the state of Texas.


Back for a 48th Year

Special Olympics Texas celebrates the 48th anniversary of the Summer Games this year. The first Summer Games was held in Waco in 1969. Approximately 350 athletes from across the state participated that year. Four volunteers have been with SOTX for the entire time.


Nearly 3,000 Athletes 

At the 48th annual SOTX Summer Games, 2,910 are entered to compete during the weekend-long competition in one of six sports.

Athletes by sport:

1,320 - Athletics (Track & Field)

1,175 - Basketball

155 - Soccer

130 - Tennis

90 - Cycling

40 - Gymnastics


How They Got Here

To qualify for the 2017 Summer Games, athletes must be at least 12 years old on the first day of Summer Games to be able to compete. In addition, they were required to train for a minimum of eight consecutive weeks in the appropriate sport. During that period, they also had to compete at their area-level competition in the sport they are participating in.


Volunteers Are The Lifeline

To run the 2017 Summer Games, it will take about 3,750 volunteers to serve in numerous capacities, including: as officials, scorekeepers, athlete escorts, award presenters and administrative support services.


Torch Run Final Leg 

Throughout the week, more than 400 police officers and Law Enforcement Torch Run members from across the state have traveled hundreds of miles on foot to Arlington for the Final Leg of the Torch Run. On Friday, May 26 they will converge on the campus of UT-Arlington to officially kick off the Summer Games. At 10:00 a.m., they will run the Flame of Hope into Maverick Stadium and parade around the track before the Summer Games Check Presentation Ceremony.


About the Law Enforcement Torch Run

In Texas, the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) began in 1985 and has grown to become one of the largest in the nation. Since getting its start in Texas, the Torch Run has contributed nearly $26 million through the dedication of thousands of law enforcement personnel fundraising on behalf of SOTX.


Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony is the official introduction to the Summer Games. Athletes from all over the state will come together to officially kick-off the 2017 Summer Games on Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m. Highlights include: the Parade of Athletes and the lighting of the cauldron to signify the official start of the Games. The event will be co-emceed by NBC 5 chief meteorologist David Finfrock and Lubbock-area SOTX athlete and Global Messenger Ben Garcia. Expected to deliver words of encouragement and declare the Games officially open will be Dallas Cowboys running back and former Heisman Trophy finalist Darren McFadden.  The National Anthem will be performed by SOTX athlete saxophonist Patrick Billette and The Dallas PD Dancing Copswill be providing athletes and all attendees entertainment during the program.


Free Health Screenings During Games

During the Games, athletes will have access to free health screenings at the Wellness Village. The Healthy Athletes program is the world’s largest provider of medical services to people with intellectual disabilities.

·         Opening Eyes provides a free vision exam and free prescription glasses if needed.

·         Healthy Hearing provides free hearing screenings and free hearing aids if needed; Health Promotions provides athletes with information on making healthy lifestyle choices through nutritious foods, physical activity and avoiding tobacco and overexposure to the sun.

·         Special Smiles provides a free dental exam for athletes.

·         Fit Feet offers podiatric screenings to evaluate ankles, feet, lower extremity biomechanics, and proper shoe and sock gear.

·         Health Promotions provides athletes with information on making healthy lifestyle choices through nutritious foods, physical activity and avoiding tobacco and overexposure to the sun. FUNfitness is a comprehensive fitness screening for the athletes and offers suggestions for improvement specific to the findings.

·         MedFest provides athletes with a free Athlete Medical, which is required for an athlete to participate in SOTX. This discipline is an exam that consists of taking vitals (blood pressure, height and weight), cardiology, abdominal, and musculoskeletal checks.

·         Strong Mind, Strong Bodies provides information about stress, stress management/techniques, and ways to improve overall mental health and wellness. The core components include: thinking good thoughts, breathing and stretching techniques, stress relief techniques, and creating a plan to keep a “strong mind”.

·         Healthy Athletes will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, at the University Center on the second floor.


Never Too Old to Play

Eighty-year old Lorretta Daves (Duncanville) is the eldest athlete in this year’s event. She will be competing in the softball throw.


State Champs Lending a Hand

Members of the Rockwall High School boys and girls gymnastics teams will be volunteering and supporting the 40 SOTX gymnasts, who will compete on Saturday at Rockwall High School. The Rockwall High School girls gymnastics team was recently crowned the state champion in Odessa in April.


First-Ever Unified Quadrathlon

For the first time in the 48-year history of SOTX’s Summer Games, the track and field competition will include a Unified Champion Schools Quadrathlon. Six school districts from around the state will bring two athletes and two Unified Partners – participants without intellectual disabilities. Together the four will compete as a team, with each person participating in the 100m Run, 200m Run, Mini Javelin and the 4x100m Unified Relay. The scores will be tallied using a point system much like a Pentathlon.


Participating schools:

Rider High School (Wichita Falls)

Spring ISD Wells Middle School

Spring ISD Dueitt Middle School

Newton ISD

Mission CISD


Parent-Athlete Unified Duos

In this weekend’s Tennis Competition, Highland Park ISD’s delegation will include two mother-son duos, Susan and Jeremy Hargrave and Sherry and Jordan Wilson, as well as a father-son pair in Lee and John Siegmund.


Media Call Ahead

Media are encouraged to call before arriving to a venue, as competition times are subject to change and could be delayed due to weather or end earlier than scheduled.


Filming & Interview Requests

Media should check in with the SOTX staff lead person when arriving to a venue. They can let media know what areas are permitted to shoot video/photos from. Only a SOTX staff lead person should facilitate with athlete, coach or volunteer interview requests. If unable to find the SOTX staff lead person at the venue, contact Public Relations Coordinator Steve Helm at 



No Flash Photography

Flash photography is prohibited at all venues. Several of the athletes are photosensitive epileptic, so flashing could trigger seizures. (Thank you for your cooperation!)


Media Room: B-Roll & Photos

Throughout the weekend, Special Olympics Texas will provide b-roll and photos from the competition and special events. Media is welcome to use any of the materials provided for their production purposes. Attributions will be provided, so please be sure to include the credits when using materials provided by SOTX. The SOTX Media Room can be found


Important Parking Information

UT-Arlington will be hosting several events in addition to SOTX Summer Games. To accommodate everyone that will be on campus, UT-Arlington has made some changes to its parking procedures/policies for the weekend. A detailed map, showing recommended areas to park can be found at On the map, you will see there is FREE parking in the designated lots. FREE shuttles are available for everyone attending Special Olympics Texas games.


News and Updates

For all the latest news and schedule updates, visit the 2017 Summer Games web page You can also subscribe for text alerts. Simply text “sotxsummer” to 888777. (Standard messaging rates may apply.)


Get Social

Follow us on all of our social media channels! Be sure to tag us and use #SOTX17 to share in the memories! 


·         Facebook - @specialolympicstx

·         Instagram - @specialolympicstx

·         Twitter - @SOTexas

·         Snapchat- @so.texas


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