While this summer’s sports action will still look a little different from years past due to the ongoing pandemic, we’re getting excited to safely return to action in ways we haven’t seen since before COVID-19 brought society to a screeching halt last spring.
Between warm weather, rising vaccinations rates and decreasing COVID numbers, we’re hopeful that these next few months will make for some long-overdue memories and sports excitement for our athletes.
Modified meets provide safe and fun opportunities
Our track athletes will kick things off in early May with regional track meets. For most of the hundreds of athletes who will compete over the two weekends, it will be their first in-person competition in over a year.
In addition to our standard COVID-19 safety protocols, these smaller track meets will run in a stationed approach to limit interaction. Local Programs will be scheduled together and rotate through four stations with their events. For those who qualify, a modified State Track Meet will be held June 26 at Lawrence University in Appleton.
This year, our State Soccer Tournament will take place May 15 at Mukwonago High School. Nearly 20 agencies are registered and their soccer athletes are raring to go.
While swimming doesn’t have the luxury of being outside like track and soccer, we’re confident our safety protocols will make for a safe and exciting modified swim season. Swim meets will run in shifts to minimize the number of people in attendance at a given time. Our standard COVID-19 safety protocols, including required screenings, physical distancing and masks will still apply.
District Swim Meets will be the first and second weekends in June. For those who qualify, our modified State Swim Meet will take place at the end of June at a date and location to be announced.
There will be an in-practice competition option for all three sports for those who prefer to compete at home or who are not able to travel to the in-person events.
Meets take place of traditional Summer Games
These competitions will all take place in lieu of the State Summer Games, our flagship sporting event that typically brings more than 1,300 athletes and thousands of fans to the UW-Stevens Point campus every June.
“Stevens Points has been Special Olympics Wisconsin’s home for a few days every summer for more than 40 years now. We’re disappointed that we won’t be converging on this wonderful city from across the state to make new memories this year. However, we take comfort in knowing that our athletes have created more than enough magic on the UW-Stevens Point campus over the years to hold them over to our next Summer Games,” said Don Wigington, Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Vice President of Sports & Health Programs.
Outdoor Sports Tournament looks promising
Although State Summer Games were canceled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19, at this point we feel confident that our Outdoor Sports Tournament will take place at Carroll College in Waukesha on Saturday, August 7. While we know that much can change between now and then, we anticipate that athletes will be able to compete in bocce, softball and tennis. We’re excited to offer a true state tournament setting, albeit in a modified one-day format instead of the usual two.
But in the meantime, we’re sure our athletes are going to have a blast these next few months once again experiencing the thrill of Special Olympics Wisconsin competition!