The 44th annual Special Olympics Maine State Summer Games are fast approaching. Over 1500 athletes, ages 8-88 have been training, planning, and now packing for this exciting event. They will represent approximately 125 teams from Kittery to Presque Isle and will compete in a variety of Olympic Style sports at the University of Maine in Orono June 6-8.

Prior to the games, nearly 600 members of Maine Law Enforcement will be carrying the Olympic Torch, the Flame of Hope, across the entire state. These members of Law Enforcement will be trying to raise funds for and an awareness of Special Olympics Maine. The run will begin in Berwick on Tuesday June 3rd and will conclude on Friday with a Final Leg entering in to the UMO campus late afternoon.

Competition will actually begin on Thursday (June 5at 9 a.m.with Bowling and Unified Bowling. (Unified events bring together athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without for an opportunity to compete together on the same team.) On Friday the excitement continues with more bowling, Time trials, Bocce Competitions and relays.

Friday evening, June 6 always proves to be a fun filled night with our annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg arriving around 4:30 p.m., our parade at 6 p.m.,  followed by our Opening Ceremonies at 7. On Saturday morning Track and Field events begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until approximately 3:30 p.m. In addition to the competition athletes will be treated to an Olympic Village full of games and entertainment, Zumba classes, Unified Volleyball and our very own “Olympic Idol” competition. Saturday night includes our annual Victory Dance in the field house. The theme for this years dance is Neon Glow Party. On Sundaymorning the events conclude with Walk and Mile Run finals and closing ceremonies.

An added bonus for our athletes is the Healthy Athletes program. Special Olympics Maine athletes will have the opportunity to be seen and evaluated in free dental, PT, and hearing screenings. Special Smiles, under the direction of DR Scott Trowbridge, has offered free screenings for the past thirteen years.  Jen Corbeil, a Physical Therapist, has a group of Physical Therapists who offer free PT screenings where athletes are checked on range of motion, strength, and fitness. Exercise plans are offered to each athlete. Healthy Hearing, under the direction of Amy Booth from the Hearing Institute at UMO will offer free hearing screenings. Each of these Directors have attended a National Special Olympics Directors Training in order to become certified Directors of the Healthy Athletes program.+