Two weeks ago Towson University played host to some very special guests: the Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD). The SOMD have provided children and adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate and compete in organized sports since 1970. In more recent years, the organization has initiated a program called “Unified Partners” which allows peers without intellectual disabilities to compete side by side with the athletes to teach sports skills and form friendships.
The weekend of June 8 marked the 42nd annual Summer Special Olympics in Maryland and the 35th ceremony to be held at Towson. Over the course of the weekend 1,400 Special Olympic athletes, 200 Unified Partners and countless volunteers flooded the campus for the games. Due to construction on campus TU partnered with Coppin State and Cockeysville Middle School to share their facilities for some of the events. TU also hosted 1,150 guests in overnight accommodations during the games.
The Torch Run and Opening Ceremonies took place on Friday at the Towson Center, marking the beginning of the event. At the Opening Ceremonies Chief of Police, Bernie Gerst, was presented with an award from the SOMD to express their appreciation of the all effort TU puts into planning and hosting the games.
And then the games began! On Friday, Saturday and Sunday athletes competed in cheerleading, track and field events, bocce ball, softball and various aquatic events. Overall, the games were a great success and great time had by all.
To learn more about the Special Olympics Maryland, visit www.somd.org and check out the pictures from this year’s event.