Summer Games 2024 Wraps up at Whitewater

June 14, 2024 Blog, Events, Featured, Press

Nearly 1,400 cornhole, powerlifting, soccer, tennis, and track & field athletes from across the state converged on the campus of UW-Whitewater Thursday through Saturday, June 6-8, for the 2024 Special Olympics Wisconsin Summer Games. It was the largest multi-sport games Special Olympics Wisconsin has held in its more-than 50 year history.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin (LETR) kicked off the event Thursday evening with the Final Leg–a torch run from Cravath Lakefront Park to Perkins Stadium on the UWW campus.

A Parade of Athletes featuring 96 statewide local programs filed into the arena, followed by the presentation of colors by the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Honor Guard and the national anthem sung by SOWI Athlete Briana Larson and her family.

The ensuing Opening Ceremony was emceed by SOWI Athlete Sara Schumacher and SOWI Board Member Julia Fello. The pair introduced several guest speakers throughout the program, including SOWI President & CEO Chad Hershner, SOWI Board Chair Michael Grubich, and featured guest speakers UW-Whitewater Chancellor Dr. Corey King, Whitewater City Manager John Weidl, and Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez.

LETR announced the Dale Brunner Hall of Fame Award to Wisconsin State Patrol Inspector Lewis Judge, who was also celebrated at the LETR celebration following the Opening Ceremony. The evening closed with the LETR torch run around the turf, featuring athlete Annie Mulligan and officer Nathan Stetzer–both of whom are representative nominees for the Special Olympics World Games this winter in Italy.

A busy Thursday evening led to even busier Friday, with Cornhole, Soccer, and Track & Field competition underway early. Powerlifting and Tennis, as well as the final Soccer and Track & Field events finished up Saturday in the rain.  A full schedule of events can be found on the Summer Games page of the SOWI website.

As customary with its seasonal games, Special Olympics Wisconsin hosted a series of health-focused activities, including four Healthy Athletes® events. Special Smiles® provided by Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation (oral health screenings and education), Opening Eyes® provided by Lions Club International Foundation (vision screenings), and Health Promotion (nutrition, fitness, and health practices) took place Friday. FitFeet (podiatry screenings) was offered Saturday. Additionally, the HEAR Wisconsin Mobile Audiology Clinic was stationed just outside the Williams Center for free hearing screenings. In total, a whopping 590 health screenings across all disciplines were held.

Victory Village battled the wind Friday, welcoming community partners to campus to share resources with athletes and families. And, capping off Friday evening, the always popular Victory Dance featured a Masquerade Ball theme.

All would agree–it was an incredible weekend to see the courage and joy of our Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes.

A special thanks goes out to event partners LETR; Knights of Columbus; Dunkin’; Jersey Mike’s; Kriete Truck Centers; Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation; OUR TEAM partners Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks; WisPact Foundation; Michels Family Foundation; Kohl’s Cares; and the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association.

And of course, additional thanks to the thousands of volunteers whose support makes these Games happen!

Relive the Memories of Summer Games!

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