Athletes from across the state will compete for gold in 18 sports as the Special Olympics Mississippi Summer Games return to Keesler Air Force Base today through Sunday.
This will mark the 32 consecutive years that the base has opened its doors to Mississippi’s Special Olympic athletes.
Sam Wells, the Marketing and Development Director for Special Olympics Mississippi, said this event is very inspiring for the volunteers that help out, and it’s very fun and rewarding for the athletes.
“It gives individuals with intellectual disabilities a competition,” said Wells. “A way to compete, a way to play sports, a way to be a part of a community, a way to meet people, a social aspect to their lives and that’s why we have been doing this in Mississippi since 1975.”
Special Olympics Mississippi serves over 4500 Mississippians with intellectual disabilities with 16 multicounty regions across the state. These regions hold local games where their athletes qualify for the chance to compete at the state games.
“This is our signature event of our calendar.” said Monica Daniels, Executive Director of Special Olympics Mississippi. “We can’t thank the base enough for their continued support of Special Olympics Mississippi.”
Athletes will compete in 18 sports ranging from swimming to powerlifting.
“It’s a competition too. You’ve got to finish faster than your next athlete so not everyone gets a medal and ribbon in this,” said Wells. “It’s very fun to teach them about competition and winning and losing and have them make friends and just be a part of the community like everyone else.”
For those interested in volunteering, please email sgvolunteers@
For more information about Special Olympics Mississippi, visit the website, specialolympicsms.org.
Wells said he would love to have some fans in the stands to cheer on these athletes.