As we know you have, we at Special Olympics Kentucky have been closely tracking information related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S., its spread and the steps being taken in Kentucky and nationally to contain the virus.
Developments over the last several weeks have gravely affected the ability of our athletes to train or compete, the biggest of which have been the closing of schools and universities – where the vast majority of our events are held — and the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control that mass gatherings be suspended through May 15 at the earliest. With that in mind, Special Olympics Kentucky is extending the suspension of all training, competition and social activities through May 15, 2020.
Training and preparation before competition has been a hallmark of Special Olympics for its entire history. In fact, it is in our charter. It is one of the things that distinguishes Special Olympics as a true sports program. That is why we require weeks of practice and participation in qualifying events to compete at the state level. This suspension of activities means that we will not be able to hold area track and field meets, qualifying swim meets or regional soccer tournaments. Beyond that, with so much uncertainty, it is not clear that we would be able to use Eastern Kentucky University for our Summer Games weekend. With those two concerns in mind, we have also made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the 2020 State Summer Games and unfortunately, they cannot be rescheduled.
This is unprecedented in our program’s history. However, our greatest priority is the health and safety of our athletes, coaches and volunteers. As long as we are told that holding activities could endanger the athletes we serve, we can’t continue.
We know how much our athletes miss their sports. We have heard from so many of you over the past two weeks. Please know that we miss sports – and you – as well. We can’t wait to see you all again. If we all work together to get through this, as soon as we are allowed there will be games, tournaments and events for you to take part in for years to come.
As we wait for that time, we want to encourage you to remain active in any way you can. To help you, we are providing a new Fitness Friday activity in conjunction with Ohio Valley Wrestling and Norton Sports Performance that you can do in your own home. The first of eight weeks happened last Friday. You can catch up with that workout here and follow along live on our Facebook page for the next eight Fridays at 10:30 am. You can also use the Special Olympics/WWE School of Strength program.
We know how disappointing these decisions are for all of you. Trust us, we are disappointed too. But as Governor Beshear tells us every evening, “We will get through this together.” And we can’t wait to see you all and get back to what we all love when that happens. Please, stay safe.
Should you have any questions, please contact President/CEO Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].