We are excited to announce that the State Summer Games will return to their full three-day schedule for the first time since 2019 when they return to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond June 2-4. We will hold all of the activities of our traditional Summer Games, including a full Opening Ceremonies in The Ravine on Friday, and a Closing Ceremony and victory dance on Saturday night.
That isn’t to say that the 2023 Games won’t look unique in many ways. The most noticeable change will be that this year’s Games are trimmed down to just four sports. Swimming will move away from the Summer Games for this year and next due to construction in the Alumni Coliseum facility that includes EKU’s indoor pool. That same construction will force several other parts of the Games to move to other areas of the EKU campus. Rhythmic gymnastics will move to the new Student Recreation Center next door to Alumni Coliseum. Also, Chick-fil-A Olympic Town and the Healthy Athletes Wellness Village will also both have new homes. Olympic Town moves to the plaza surrounding the Meditation Chapel. The plaza is conveniently located near both the Powell Building, which houses the Operations Center and Case Dining Hall where athletes eat during the Games. The Closing Ceremony and dance will also be held on the plaza. The Healthy Athletes Wellness Village will still be close to Olympic Town, moving to the second floor of the Powell Building above the Operations Center. This will provide a quiet, climate controlled area in which told screenings.
Summer Games activities get underway early on June 2 in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort with the opening of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg at 9 am. The Opening Ceremonies will include an appearance by Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Phillip Burnett. The Final Leg group will then head to the Capitol steps for the lighting of the Special Olympics Torch, followed by a run from the Capitol. Final Leg participants will then carry the torch to Richmond for the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies. Other stops along the Final Leg, include the annual celebration at Stewart Home and School in Frankfort at 10:30 am with a run from the Stewart Home gate into campus followed by a ceremony with the Stewart Home residents. The torch will then head to Lexington for a run that begins at 1:15 from the Transylvania University Campus to 215 W. Main St. in Downtown Lexington for a brief ceremony and then a run to the Wildcat statue at the University of Kentucky. That will be followed by a stop at the Richmond Police Department at 3:30 followed by a run into campus. The Final Leg participants will also bring the torch into the Opening Ceremonies.
Opening Ceremonies for the Games will begin at 6 pm on June 2 in The Ravine near the center of the EKU campus (weather permitting). The Ceremonies will include the introduction of athletes and the lighting of the Special Olympics cauldron. The torch will be carried in by 2022 Athlete Volunteer of the Year Phillip Riley of Nicholasville and the cauldron will be lit by 2022 Special Olympics Kentucky Athlete of the Year Caitlin Roy of Finchville. The Games will be declared open by 2022 Volunteer of the Year Brian Parsley.
Competition will begin Friday night immediately following the Opening Ceremonies. Tom Samuels Track will host the distance races and relays beginning at approximately 7:30 pm on June 2. There will also be several heats of the softball throw competition held at Turkey Hughes Baseball Field on Friday night, as well as the start of the Unified bocce competition on the EKU intramural fields.
Olympic Town and Healthy Athletes will be open from 9 am until 2 pm. Once again Olympic Town will include music, dancing, games and snacks. This year’s Healthy Athletes offerings will also move back to a more complete schedule, including Opening Eyes, Special Smiles, Healthy Hearing, Fit Feet, Strong Minds and more.
Volunteers are needed to help operate the Games. For volunteer opportunities, contact Michaele Roy at 502-695-8222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the 11th consecutive year that Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has served as the Platinum Sponsor for the Games, making Touchstone Energy the largest single supporter of the State Summer Games. In addition, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy has signed on as the official water sponsor for the year for Special Olympics Kentucky. In that role they will provide all of the bottled water for volunteers and each athlete, coach and volunteer lunch will have a bottle of water provided by Touchstone.
This will be the eighth year that Chick-fil-A Central Kentucky stores are teaming up to provide all lunches for athletes, coaches and volunteers on the day of the Games.
For information about the 2023 Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games, contact Special Olympics Kentucky President/CEO Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
The 2023 Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games are made possible through the generosity of platinum sponsor Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Special Olympics Kentucky year-round partners Jersey Mike’s, Texas Roadhouse and Toyota; Gold Olympic Town sponsor Chick-fil-A; Gold Sponsors amentum, Eastern Kentucky University, the Knights of Columbus and Walmart; Silver Sponsors Dever Golf Cars, Lockheed Martin, Richmond Tourism and Southland Dairy Farmers; Bronze Sponsors the City of Richmond, Eastside Community Church, EKU Catering, Greentree Forest Products, LBX Company, Penske Truck Rental, Waste Connections and Whitaker Bank.