In one week, more than 1,800 Special Olympics Iowa athletes and Unified partners will converge at Iowa State University for the Annual Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games May 19 – 21.

The Summer Games is Special Olympics Iowa’s biggest competition and celebration of the year. In addition to more than 1,800 athletes and Unified partners competing for over 4,000 awards, there are also expected to be more than 2,000 volunteers, staff, and coaches present.

Six different sports, including bocce, cycling, soccer, swimming, track and field, and tennis, will see competition during this two-and-a-half-day event.

The Summer Games will kick off on the morning of Thursday, May 19, with the Torch Run Final Leg bringing the Flame of Hope from downtown Des Moines to Hilton Coliseum. The cycling, team bocce, and singles tennis competitions will begin at 9:00 a.m. on the Iowa State University campus. Soccer and race walk will begin at later times on Thursday in varying locations around the Lied Recreation Center. Singles bocce, tennis doubles, swimming, and track and field will take place on Friday, May 20, with track and field competition continuing through Saturday, May 21.

The Opening Ceremonies, presented by Hy-Vee, will take place on Thursday evening in Hilton Coliseum. The Opening Ceremony will begin with a Parade of Athletes and end with the lighting of the Flame of Hope marking the beginning of the 2022 Summer Games.

“We are thrilled to be heading back to Ames next week for our Summer Games,” said Special Olympics Iowa CEO John Kliegl. “After having to hold our Summer Game virtually in 2020 and 2021 there is so much excitement and energy heading into this year’s games. Our athletes have been training so hard and the volunteers are jumping at the opportunity to get involved. We look forward to being in Ames at Iowa State University and to the unparalleled atmosphere they create for our athletes.”

Also featured at the games are an Olympic Festival, healthy athletes screenings, and the very first Little Feet Meet. The Olympic Festival is an area for athletes to relax between competitions and interact with sponsors and partners through games and activities.

Healthy athletes screenings will provide athletes with an opportunity to be examined by healthcare professionals for eyesight, dental, hearing, overall health and fitness, and more. The Little Feet Meet is an inclusive opportunity for young athletes, ages 2 to 7, with and without intellectual disabilities to participate in track and field events at the Summer Games.

The meet will take place Thursday, May 19, at the Lied Recreation Center on the Iowa State University Campus. For more information, visit here.