Special Olympics Nevada (SONV) Summer Games is the organization’s largest annual sporting event, however, due to the COVID-19 crisis, this will be the first Games held entirely in a virtual format. From June 22 through June 26, SONV Virtual 2020 Summer Games will feature athletes from across the state competing in a variety of fitness and sports skills competitions in hopes of earning honors.
Participating athletes will compete in track and field, swimming, basketball and soccer skills challenges, and fitness skills challenges, remotely using volunteer coaches. Many of the same elements from past Summer Games will be included in this year’s event, including the Parade of Athletes, the Law Enforcement Torch Run, and special appearances by the Las Vegas Raiders, Las Vegas Lights FC and other guests, all with a virtual spin to the festivities.
“Despite this COVID-19 world, we strongly believe that we’re still better together,” said Terrence Thornton, executive director of SONV. “We’re hoping to create that same connectivity and camaraderie among our athletes from past Summer Games by providing opportunities to socialize, albeit virtually, with Game and Movie nights, and a virtual dance.”
With a mix of live streaming content using platforms such as Zoom and Facebook Messenger rooms, the Virtual 2020 Summer Games will include additional “firsts” – the competition will not only be open to SONV athletes, but their families and SONV Unified Sports athletes as well. The Games will also include its first-ever Closing Ceremonies hosted by John Langeler, 8 News Now Anchor and SONV Advisory Board member. To assist participating athletes with rules, regulations and tips for remote competition, SONV will provide demo videos on its Virtual 2020 Summer Games website page, at www.sonv.org/virtualsummergames
“From now until the Virtual 2020 Summer Games kick off on June 22, we will be posting updates on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, including an unveiling of the results from our logo contest, where SONV athletes have the opportunity to design this year’s official logo,” said Thornton.
The Opening Ceremony will kick off at 6 p.m. on June 22, featuring host Dreu Murin and co-host, SONV athlete Tina Knazze. For a complete schedule of competitions, ways to tune in and support the athletes, or for more information on the SONV Virtual 2020 Summer Games, please visit www.sonv.org/virtualsummergames.
About Special Olympics Nevada
Special Olympics Nevada (SONV) is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through inclusive sports, education and health. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization offers free year-round training and competition programs for 3,253 athletes who compete in more than 60 competitions in 10 sports annually. On the playing field, SONV promotes inclusion through Unified Sports, bringing together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play as teammates. On school campuses, SONV impacts more than 62,000 school-aged students by promoting inclusion through the Unified Champion Schools Program, which encourages Unified Sports, Inclusive Leadership programs and Whole School Engagement. SONV is also committed to improving the overall health and well-being of individuals with intellectual disabilities through Healthy Athletes events, offering health screenings and services free of charge. SONV relies on the support of 4,766 volunteers and funding from individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations. In 2018, SONV honored the 50-year anniversary of Special Olympics. More information may be found by visiting www.sonv.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @SONevada.