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Special Olympics Wisconsin organizers and athletes embrace virtual summer games

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Special Olympics Wisconsin Summer Games is one of their biggest events of the year. That event has over 50 years of tradition. It's still on, it will be done virtually for the athletes.

"We have 11 different events between track and field and soccer that people can do on their own," said Tommy Jaime the Director of Communications for Special Olympics Wisconsin.

The competitions, in Stevens Point, are a celebration of athletes every year, but because of the pandemic, the events and festivities can't happen in person.

Now, organizers have come up with a way to participate while practicing social distancing, and everyone is invited to participate including community members.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose your activities: There are 11 Virtual Summer Games events. You can compete in as many events as you’d like. Anyone who competes in 5 or more events will be entered into a drawing to win a prize.
  2. Practice: Practice the events you’d like and submit your best score. The deadline to submit your scores is Friday, May 29th.
  3. Submit your scores: Practice your events first and keep track of your scores. Fill out this form when you have scores for all the events you are competing in. You can also submit photos and videos of you competing.

It's recommended that practice and competing happen at your own home, however, coaches and teams are encouraged to interact virtually.

Alison Mushett, a Summer Games athlete from Madison is excited about doing her four events from her house.

"Probably outside. In the streets, I'll just run in our neighborhood," Mushett said with a smile on her face.

Mushett has won over 30 medals in over a decade of competing in the Summer Games.

A virtual torch run and virtual Opening Ceremonies are still planned for the event. For more information on both, click here.

"It was never an option to not have anything. We have such a tight-knit community," said Jaime. "Our athletes care a lot about Special Olympics. It's nice to see people are happy to see us come together like this."

The virtual Summer Games run from May 15 through May 29.

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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