Sports competitions, anniversary celebrations and much more will be part of the Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games May 22-24 at Iowa State University in Ames. Nearly 2,700 Special Olympics Iowa athletes will travel from across Iowa to compete in the three-day event on the Iowa State University campus.

"The Summer Games this year will be a celebration for everyone involved," said SOIA Vice President of Sports Operations and Programs Shane Kiesner. "We are observing 30 years of the Summer Games being hosted in the City of Ames on the Iowa State University campus."

Athletes of all ages and abilities will compete in: aquatics (swimming), athletics (track & field), bocce, cycling, developmental sports, soccer skills, 7-on-7 team soccer, and tennis at locations on the ISU campus. A roller skating competition is also scheduled in Des Moines on Thursday, May 22. More than 3,000 volunteers will be part of the Games including coaches, chaperones and day of event volunteers.

The public is invited to the 30th Anniversary Community Celebration picnic on Friday, May 23. The lunch is at the Scheman Courtyard from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a short program at 12:30. Lunch will be provided by Hickory Park. Kiesner said, "This picnic is one way for Special Olympics Iowa to share its gratitude and thank all the partners from ISU and the Ames community for their contributions to 30 years of successful Summer Games in Ames."

The public is also invited to the Opening Ceremonies in Hilton Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 22. During the ceremony, Special Olympics Iowa athlete delegations parade into the coliseum and the Flame of Hope is used to ignite the cauldron. Honorary Games Co-Chair, Iowa State Men’s Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg will welcome the athletes, and ISU Vice President of Student Affairs and SOIA Board member Dr. Thomas Hill will officially declare the games open for competition.

Special Olympics Iowa is supported by the generous contributions of individuals, businesses, and organizations. Champion Statewide Partners include HyVee, Knights of Columbus, Law Enforcement Torch Run and Sammons Financial Group. Premier Statewide Partners include Cargill, Casey’s General Stores, Dubuque Racing Association/ Mystique Casino, Kwik Star, Prairie Meadows, Texas Roadhouse and Wells Fargo.

Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA), a statewide nonprofit organization, provides high-quality training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in all 99 counties of Iowa. SOIA offers 23 Olympic-style sports to approximately 12,000 athletes and Unified Sports partners year-round. Since 1968, Special Olympics has provided an inclusive culture that stresses athletic excellence, rewards determination, emphasizes health and celebrates personal achievement.

For more information, please call 515-986-5520 or visit the SOIA website at www.soiowa.org.