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Posted by lacied on October 2, 2008


“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Special Olympics Oath

This October 3-5 over 2,000 Special Olympics athletes will travel to Statesboro from all-over Georgia to “Soar with the Eagles” and participate in the 2008 State Fall Games.

“Statesboro completed a bid to compete against many other cities larger in size including Columbus, Albany, Savannah and more to become the new home for the State Fall Games, because of the hospitality of the Statesboro community and high quality of facilities available in Bulloch County, like Mill Creek Regional Park and Forest Heights Country Club’s prestigious golf course” said Jamie Riggs of the Statesboro Visitor’s Bureau.

For the next 3 years, Statesboro will host this heartfelt community effort to show the world that every person counts and that every person can be something good when we work together.

“We are excited about the Special Olympics of Georgia (SOGA) Fall Games being hosted at Mill Creek Regional Park. Not only will this be a chance to highlight our facilities as a park, but a chance to highlight what a beautiful and giving city Statesboro has become” said Broni Gainous of Mill Creek Park.

Another important factor that led Statesboro to be chosen as the new host for the games is because the majority of the sports played in Fall Games can all be located in one location verses miles apart. “This allows agencies with athletes playing different sports to stay in one location vs. having to transport chaperones and competitors across town” Riggs said.

The entire town is coming together in collaboration to support the games, Statesboro and Bulloch County’s businesses, organizations and private citizens have joined forces to sponsor and host all of the events.

The presenting sponsor for this year’s Fall Games is Sea Island Bank. Volunteers from First Baptist Church of Statesboro and many more private organizations have come together to make this event come to life. “Even the meals for all of the 2000 plus athletes have been donated by local merchants!” said Riggs.

Other sponsors include Ogeechee Technical College, Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau, East Georgia Regional Medical Center, Farmers and Merchants Bank, Georgia Power, the Statesboro Hotel Manager’s Association, Citizens Bank, Best Friends Animal Hospital and Gateway Animal Hospital, First Southern National Bank, the Homebuilders Association is sponsoring the Olympic Town.

“We are all diligently preparing for October 3-5 with regards to obtaining volunteers, working closely with SOGA in their needs, and of course, preparing the park so that it will be a welcome venue for these games” said Gainous.

The Fall Games differ from Summer and Winter Special Olympics Games in that they consist of five sports that are not played in any other state competition. Softball, bocce, golf, cycling, and various long distance running and walking competitions are among the events that will bring these inspiring athletes together in the engaging and enriching challenges.

The goal of Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA) is to bring people with intellectual disabilities together through encouraging and helping them to develop athletic skills. By promoting their abilities both on and off the field, SOGA athletes gain skills for employment, learn independent living skills, form relationships and help others understand their extraordinary capabilities despite health issues they experience daily. When Special Olympics athletes succeed, attitudes change, communities develop and the eyes of the world are focused on all that is good and hopeful and positive.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver established the Special Olympics in 1962 after holding day camps at her home for intellectually challenged individuals. She began promoting the importance of engaging people with intellectual disabilities and allowing them opportunities for competition. The first International Special Olympics we held in 1968 at the Chicago Park District. Funded by the Kennedy Foundation, the first Games paved the way for a dynamic future in the lives of intellectually challenged individuals and their families.

In 1988, the Special Olympics were acknowledged by the International Olympic Committee as the only other sports organization authorized to use the name “Olympics” in its title. The “Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act,” was passed unanimously in 2004 approving funding for worldwide expansion of the program.

Today, more than 2.5 million athletes of all ages are involved in Special Olympics sports training and competition in more than 180 countries. In Georgia, 22,797 athletes are given the opportunity to participate in the games. Some of these courageous athletes live right here in Statesboro, and 20 of them will proudly be representing us at the games next month.

“Sean Smith is one of our most famous athletes in Bulloch County who is not only a great softball competitor but a wonderful singer” said Riggs. He will be performing the National Anthem at the opening ceremonies on Oct. 3 at 7:30 pm.

This priceless opportunity to make a difference in the lives of such admirable individuals will begin on Friday October 3rd and conclude on Sunday the 5th. Sporting events include: golf and golf skills, bocce, cycling, softball/softball Skills, long distance walking, running and field events. “With the exception of golf, (which will be held at Forest Heights Country Club) all of the activities will be held at Mill Creek Regional Park during these games. This is something that other places have not been able to provide and I think this is one of the main reasons that Statesboro was chosen for the games” Gainous said. Mill Creek Regional Park has 12 baseball/softball fields, 4 football/soccer fields and 1 multipurpose field. There is a 1.25 mile walking trail, 2 playgrounds, over 900 parking spaces and plenty of restroom facilities.

All the events are free and open to the public, so plan to bring the whole family to come out and support the athletes. “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”


Friday, October 3, 2008

11:30 am – 5:00 pm Team Softball, Mill Creek Regional Park

11:30 am – 5:00 pm Bocce, Mill Creek Regional Park

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Opening Ceremony, Mill Creek Regional Park (Field 2)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

8:00 am – 8:00 pm Team Softball, Mill Creek Regional Park

8:00 am – 2:00 pm Softball Skills, Mill Creek Regional Park

8:00 am – 8:30 pm Bocce, Mill Creek Regional Park

8:00 am – 11:00 am Golf Skills, Forest Heights Country Club

9:00 am – 2:00 pm Long Distance Run/Walk, Mill Creek Regional Park

9:00 am – 2:00 pm Cycling, Mill Creek Regional Park

10:00 am – 4:00 pm Olympic Town, Mill Creek Regional Park

1:00 pm – 6:00 pm Golf Individual and Team Play, Forrest Heights CC

8:30 pm – 10:00 pm Athlete Victory Dance, Mill Creek Regional Park

Sunday, October 5, 2008

8:00 am – 1:00 pm Team Softball, Mill Creek Regional Park

8:00 am – 1:00 pm Bocce, Mill Creek Regional Park


One Response to “LET THE GAMES BEGIN!”

  1. Paul said

    This is a very well written article. I hope to see you writing for a major publication in the next few years. The last time i saw talent like this I was in a small vietnamese town with an oil painter named Huy. You paint minds like he painted canvas. Dont hold your talent in, share it with the world and the world will be a better place.

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