Columbia to host Missouri Special Olympics Summer State Games

Friday, February 3, 2012 | 1:07 p.m. CST; updated 11:43 a.m. CDT, Friday, May 25, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Special Olympics Summer State Games will come to Columbia this spring with an expanded format. This will be the first of four years Columbia is scheduled to host the event.

The Games, to be held May 29 through June 1, will feature more than 3,000 athletes in six sports: volleyball, basketball, bowling, track and field, aquatics and powerlifting.. 

Organizers are asking for community support with donations and sponsorships, as the event will require $250,000 in funding.

The organizers hope to gain business sponsors to help with the majority of the funding. The minimum donation for business sponsors is $1,100.

"Right now the critical need is for financial support. The community of Columbia was very supportive when the Games were here (before)," Linda Brokamp, chair of the Games' management team, said in a news release. "We're asking for even more support because the games have doubled in size."

The last time Columbia hosted the Special Olympics Summer Games was five years ago. For the past four years, the games have been held in Springfield. 

In March, Special Olympics will begin calling for volunteers; Brokamp said the event will require about 1,500.

"It will make a difference," Susan Stegeman said, chief development officer for Special Olympics Missouri. "Without volunteers we can't produce our events. I've heard volunteers say they 'always get back 10 times what they put into it.'"

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