Special Olympics Nebraska to host Summer Games, Opening Ceremonies this week

People participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Nebraska in May 2022
People participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Nebraska in May 2022(Beatriz Reyna)
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 12:58 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Special Olympics Nebraska is gearing up for the Summer Games starting this week.

According to Special Olympics Nebraska, 950 athletes, coaches and unified partners will be at the Summer Games from May 17 - 20.

Hosted at Creighton University and other venues across Omaha, the athletes will compete for championships in volleyball, aquatics, gymnastics and track and field.

Community torch runs will also be hosted as a build-up for the games. The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics will host torch runs from May 8 - 18.

“During ‘Torch Run Week,’ which is the week before Summer Games, Torch Run ceremonies are held in many communities where local law enforcement, athletes and community members running the Special Olympics torch celebrating with athletes, families, volunteers and supporters,” said Special Olympics Nebraska in a release.

After Torch Run Week, officers will then gather in Omaha to run the Flame of Hope to the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games. They will light the event’s torch, which Special Olympics Nebraska says represents the beginning of the Summer Games and “brings joy and pride to the thousands of athletes, families, coaches and spectators who are a part of the Opening Ceremonies.”

The Opening Ceremonies will be at DJ Sokol Arena at the Creighton University campus on Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

Included in the ceremonies will be the Parade of Athletes, award presentations, speakers and the lighting of the Summer Games Cauldron. Later that evening there will be performances, including by XPOGO Stunt Team, which is an extreme pogo demo crew. The evening will end with a performance by Lemon Fresh Day.

The Opening Ceremonies are open to the public and free to attend. Doors open at 6 p.m.