COLUMBIA — The torch run is back.
The lighting of the torch will start the Show-Me State Games sports festival Friday evening. The games will be held at various locations in Columbia and the surrounding area.
In their 29th year, the games are a nonprofit program that aims to promote health and fitness for all ages and takes place over three weekends in June and July. The Show-Me State Games is the largest of its kind in the nation and is featured on ESPN.com's "101 Things All Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die." Last year, the summer games attracted 27,873 athletes ranging from ages 3 to 83. The sports festival encourages participation at every level whether athlete, spectator or volunteer.
The torch has been making its way through six Missouri cities to promote interest and involvement in the games thanks to the support from Shelter Insurance, which is sponsoring the event. The torch will arrive Friday in Columbia, where it will light the cauldron at Mizzou Arena during the opening ceremonies.
The opening ceremonies, which are free and open to the public, will also feature Olympic gold medal gymnast Jordyn Wieber, who partnered with the Show-Me State Games to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House charity. Wieber is hosting private gymnastic clinics and a lunch Friday for those who raised the most money for her charity.
During the ceremony, Wieber will perform on the balance beam, give a speech and present a check to the Ronald McDonald House.
A schedule of events can be found at www.smsg.org/sports.
Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.