INDIANAPOLIS — The Special Olympics of Indiana are holding their annual Eunice Kennedy Shriver games, with over 2,000 athletes competing in several weekends of games.
The annual event, a fall sports competition, takes place over 6 different weekends through October and November. This year’s 11th annual games will be held in various locations throughout central Indiana.
A few different sports will be on display throughout the competition, including golf and volleyball. Sunday was the biggest competition day, with a flag football tournament as well as a competitive walk and a competitive corn toss in Zionsville.
Organizers say these events are important for the athletes.
“Competing in Special Olympics events gives our athletes an opportunity to really show what they can do,” said Special Olympics Indiana spokesperson Carla Knapp. “They get out there they’re competing on a high level and these events really mean everything to them.”
The games will continue each weekend, until the volleyball championship games in November. Throughout the games, athletes will compete in sports such as distance runs and walks, softball and equestrian competitions.
“This is the culmination of hard work, dedication, training, and practices for our athletes,” Knapp said. “They come here ready to compete with their teammates and they want to earn some medals, but beyond that it’s about getting an opportunity to come together with their community, with their friends, and really show people what they are capable of.”
A full list of the EKS games calendar can be found here, along with information on how to volunteer. The games offer a unique opportunity for both athletes and those volunteers who help make it happen.
“The people and the environment, the atmosphere, like competition and you know everyone is friendly and it’s always a good time and fun, and it’s almost like a way of life in that sense I guess,” said competing athlete Joe Grooms.
Other athletes agreed with Grooms that the environment the Special Olympics creates is palpable.
“It just feels like home,” athlete Jordan Nagel said.