The Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) makes a return to San Luis Obispo on Friday, May 5 at Cuesta College. It’s the first SOSC event in SLO County since 2019.
The 2023 Spring Games begin at 10 a.m. with the opening ceremony. Athletes will be introduced alongside officers of the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies.
Competitions start at 11 and end around 3 p.m.
Over 300 participants will compete, many from local schools and day programs, but athletes from as far as Santa Maria and Lompoc are expected, according to Jody Watty of SOSC.
The competitions include basketball, swimming and a variety of track and field events, such as short- and long-distance runs, a 4x100 meter relay, long jump, shot put and softball throw.
Local law enforcement agencies have worked with the Special Olympics for years, according to a CHP press release announcing their support of the event. “We are excited to welcome the ‘Sports Showcase’ back to the SLO area after a few years of no games,” the release said. They encourage residents to attend the opening ceremony to give the athletes “the applause they deserve,” the release said.
In addition to local law enforcement sponsors, this year’s event is sponsored by Cuesta College, Kiwanis Club of San Luis Obispo, Mechanics Bank and Harvey’s Honey Huts.
The SOSC “provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympics-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” according to the SOSC website, “giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”
The SOSC offers 13 sports across four different seasons. Several thousand athletes in community and school-based programs across 11 counties compete in the organization’s events.
You can learn more on the SOSC website.