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2016 Special Olympics State Summer Games

  • Tee Salinas and Sgt. Lisa Hampton
    2014 Special Olympics Athlete of the Year Tee Salinas of Prospect, who carried the torch into the 2015 opening ceremonies, and Sgt. Lisa Hampton of the Bellevue Police Department light one of the opening ceremony cauldrons. Photo: Matt Goins/Touchstone Energy
  • Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes and Eastern Kentucky University President Dr. Michael T. Benson
    Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes, left center with glasses, and Eastern Kentucky University President Dr. Michael T. Benson, right center, in red t-shirt, hold the torch and light one of the cauldrons to open the 2015 Summer Games. Photo: Matt Goins/Touchstone Energy
  • Mary Fehrenbach, Lexington, a Special Olympics volunteer, and a participating Special Olympics athlete
    Mary Fehrenbach, Lexington, a Special Olympics volunteer, and a participating Special Olympics athlete sign for the hearing-impaired at the opening ceremonies. Photo: Matt Goins/Touchstone Energy
  • Audience at opening ceremonies 2015
    Audience at opening ceremonies 2015. Photo: Matt Goins/Touchstone Energy
  • Audience at opening ceremonies, 2015
    Audience at opening ceremonies, 2015. Photo: Matt Goins, Touchstone Energy
  • Sammy Gilbert
    Young Athlete Sammy Gilbert from Louisville runs the 15-meter dash with his support person. Young Athletes may have support companions on the field. Photo: Tim Webb
  • Soccer competition
    Soccer competition at the 2015 games. Photo: Tim Webb
  • cheerleading squad
    The cheerleading squad from Lexington positions themselves to cheer runners over the finish line, 2015. Photo: Tim Webb
  • awards ceremony
    Local law enforcement officers help present medals and ribbons at an awards ceremony. Photo: Tim Webb

Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will be Platinum Sponsors of the 2016 Special Olympics State Summer Games that will feature athletes from across the state this weekend at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. The public is invited to come out and support the families.

Competitions will take place June 3-5 in track and field, swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, bocce and flag football. Many athletes will compete from early Saturday to late in the day. When athletes are finished competing or waiting to compete, they have the opportunity to visit Olympic Town, an area where athletes, coaches, family members and event volunteers can go to relax and enjoy musical entertainment and interactive games. Olympic Town also includes sports clinics, bingo, food, Special Smiles and Opening Eyes Healthy Athlete Programs.

“The motto of Special Olympic athletes is, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,’” said Joe Settles, Manager of Member Services at East Kentucky Power Cooperative in Winchester. “The courage of these athletes inspires us to do our best no matter what challenges we face. We encourage everyone to support them in their efforts.”

One of every six families in Kentucky is involved in Special Olympics, either through the athletes or indirectly through coaches, donors and volunteers. On Saturday morning, the Touchstone Energy Balloon will tower 80-feet over EKU. Co-op volunteers will assist in handing out medals and supporting the Special Olympics staff who run the event.

The state summer games are the Kentucky Special Olympics’ largest competition of the year. Typically, 1,400 athletes, 600 coaches and 500 family members attend. Each athlete qualifies through participation at a regional or area-level event.

Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives providing power to 530,000 Kentucky homes, farms, businesses and industries across 87 counties.

To learn more, go to Kentucky Living’s “Everyone Cheers” feature story.

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