In a move to keep athletes, coaches, families and fans safe, Special Olympics New York has cancelled its signature State Summer Games which would have been held June 12 and 13 in Dutchess County.
Additionally, all local and regional competitions, as well as formal training programs for athletes, has been suspended until at least May 20.
The State Summer Games regularly hosts more than 1,500 athletes and coaches from different regions across the state. The athletes compete in basketball, bowling, volleyball, powerlifting, swimming, track and field, tennis and gymnastics.
“Summer Games is our largest annual competition for athletes, one that was on track to be bigger and better than ever before as 2020 is our 50th anniversary year. It’s absolutely devastating to remove Summer Games from our calendar,” Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman said.
“However, we are not willing to compromise the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans – and that is something I know the entire Special Olympics New York family will understand.”
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across the state with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings.
The organization partners with more than 220 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers.
In order to keep the 67,000 athletes in shape, Special Olympics New York launched a six-week virtual program on Monday, March 23. The program offers athletes fitness routines, clinics and are given access to webinars and health and wellness resources.
“While we are tremendously sad Dutchess County will not have the honor of hosting the Summer Games this June, everyone around the state must focus their time, energy and resources on continuing to care for those affected by coronavirus,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “Dutchess County hopes to welcome the Special Olympics back home in 2021.”
The International Olympic Committee moved the 2020 summer games to July 23 – August 8, 2021 amid the global coronavirus pandemic. They were originally scheduled to take place this summer in Tokyo.