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First Day of Special Olympics Minnesota's 2008 Summer Games

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2008-06-19 04:19:39     
Special Olympics Minnesota

More than 1,200 Special Olympics athletes from across the state of Minnesota will take part in state track and field, volleyball, powerlifting and gymnastics competition at the 2008 Summer Games today through Saturday. Track and field competition will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the University of Minnesota's Bierman Athletics Complex (corner of 15th Ave. SE and 5th St. SE). Athletes will continue to compete Friday and Saturday with the support of more than 1,500 volunteers, as well as countless family members and friends. All competitions are free and open to the public!

Between events, athletes will have the chance to spend time in Olympic Town, opening at noon today. Among the activities offered is Healthy Athletes, a free health screening initiative designed to increase the overall health and fitness of people with intellectual disabilities, a medically underserved population. The Healthy Athletes program works to improve access to health care by providing free screenings, making referrals to local health practitioners and training health professionals and students about the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. The 2008 Healthy Athletes Village will offer four screenings throughout Summer Games including Fit Feet, Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes and Special Smiles. In addition, a Health Fair, located in Healthy Athletes Village, will feature interactive displays on benefits of exercise, hydration and importance of hygiene.

The 2008 Summer Games Opening Ceremonies will be held today at 7:30 p.m. at Bierman Field and will include Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, an athlete parade, Minnesota law enforcement personnel and the ceremonial lighting of the "Flame of Hope" by a Special Olympics Minnesota athlete. Law enforcement volunteers participated in a 2,000-mile Torch Run Final Leg relay running the flame across Minnesota in the weeks leading up to Summer Games. The 2008 Torch Run will culminate tonight at Opening Ceremonies.

For more information, visit Special Olympics Minnesota's Web site at http://www.specialolympicsminnesota.org or contact Anna Kucera at 612-209-0266 or kuceraa@somn.org.

In 2008, Special Olympics Minnesota celebrates 35 years of champions! Since 1973, we have been enhancing the human potential and quality of life for children and adults with intellectual disabilities by offering year-round sports training and competition. By sharing their joy and courage, our athletes inspire the human spirit in all of us.

Specialized in: Special Olympics - Special Olympics Minnesota - Intellectual Disabilities - Sports Competitions
URL: http://www.specialolympicsminnesota.org
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