More than 700 athletes from around the state will make their way to Waukesha to compete in bocce, tennis and softball during the 2019 Outdoor Sports Tournament at Carroll University and Saratoga Softball Complex on August 2 and 3.
To kick off the tournament, legendary Special Olympics Wisconsin athlete Cindy Bentley of North Suburban and Zechariah Tietz of Team Milwaukee, who participated in the 2019 Final Leg Run in Abu Dhabi, will emcee the Opening Ceremony on Friday. A 90s themed dance will take place immediately following the ceremony.
Athletes are invited to participate in the Healthy Athletes program Health Promotion during the first day of the tournament. At this clinic, volunteer health care professionals provide athletes with health screenings, interactive educational tools and motivational health information to encourage healthy behaviors, reduce risky behaviors and improve self-efficacy and self-advocacy.
On the second day of the tournament, athletes can take advantage of Healthy Athletes’ Special Smiles and Fit Feet clinics, which consists of free screenings from volunteer dental and podiatry health professionals. Healthy Athletes has been moved to the Dennis Punches Track & Field next to the bocce and tennis competition to make it easier for SOWI athletes, even those that aren’t competing at the OST, to go through the free clinics.
The intense competition in bocce, softball and tennis begins on Saturday. Bocce is the OST’s largest sport with more than 400 athletes competing on nearly 100 teams. Nearly 250 athletes on nearly 20 softball teams will go for gold while tennis players will compete at Carroll’s Jean Kilgour Trailblazer Tennis Complex.
“I’m so glad we get to have this tournament here in the Greater Milwaukee Area,” Senior Director of Sports Jason Blank, the tournament director said. “And the City of Waukesha and Carroll University continue to welcome our athletes with open arms. I love seeing the community come together to support this great event and mission.”
The tournament will also have a Unified Tennis Skills Clinic on Saturday. Unified Sports, inspired by a simple principle that training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship, acceptance and understanding, combines individuals both with and without intellectual disabilities together in sports.
The OST is possible in large part thanks to our sponsors Kwik Trip, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, American Family Insurance and Delta Dental for Special Smiles. The Special Olympics community across the state is very grateful to them for everything they do for Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes.
These Games also wouldn’t be possible without the immense help from the community, which is expected to bring approximately 250 coaches, dozens of medical professionals and hundreds of spectators to the area over the weekend.
“I love seeing the community come together to support this great event and mission.” – Jason Blank, Senior Director of Sports
That said, Special Olympics Wisconsin still needs additional volunteers to help escort athletes, present awards, score events, assist with food services and more! All volunteers receive a free t-shirt and those working a full day will receive a complimentary lunch. Various shifts are available. The tournament is free, and the public is invited to cheer athletes on from the stands. Sign up to volunteer today!
If you can’t make it to this year’s Outdoor Sports Tournament, tune in on Facebook to watch the athlete correspondents! Steven Kicker of Polk County Special Olympics will serve as the athlete correspondent from the Saratoga Softball Complex and Alison Mushett of West Madison area Special Olympics will serve as the athlete correspondent from Carroll University.
There’s also still time to show your support and wish the athletes good luck at the OST! Submit a well wishes video for this year’s athletes that will be shown during the Opening Ceremony!