Colorado Mesa University will host a statewide competition expected to bring thousands of people to Grand Junction in June.
CMU will host the Special Olympics state summer games June 1 and 2 in what will be the first time a Special Olympics event of that size will occur in Western Colorado since the organization started hosting competitions in 1969.
“The opportunity to share in this event, which is so important to these young athletes, is very gratifying,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “We hope the athletes, their families and friends and all the spectators enjoy visiting CMU and take the time to see all the sights the Grand Valley has to offer.”
Mindy Watrous, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Colorado, said CMU was selected for the summer games because the university offers some of the best athletic facilities in the Western United States.
“I’m thrilled for our athletes and coaches to have an opportunity to compete in state-of-the-art facilities like the El Pomar natatorium,”
Watrous said. “President Foster and his team have been welcoming from the first conversation, and I’m thrilled that our board of directors endorsed the move to the Western Slope.”
A number of CMU facilities will serve as venues for various competitions, including the natatorium for swimming, Maverick Center for gymnastics and performing arts theater for weightlifting. Outdoor practice fields at CMU will be used for soccer, while nearby Stocker Stadium will host track and field events. The CMU University Center will host a victory celebration that will include a dance.
All of the athletic events as well as the victory celebration will be open to the public with no admission charged.
The state summer games is the largest competition of the year for Special Olympics in Colorado. More than 1,100 athletes are expected to compete in the summer games, while 400 volunteers will help stage the event. That’s not to mention the family members and supporters who also will attend.
Special Olympics Colorado offers year-around training and competition in 22 sports for more than 12,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities. The programs are designed to help participants build confidence as well as increase awareness of their abilities.