Summer Special Olympics will be centered at UH

Cougar news staff

It may be summer, but this weekend the city of Houston and the University of Houston campus will be alive with the spirit of competition as the Special Olympics Texas Summer Games are held here for the third time in the games' 29-year history.

Some 3,500 athletes from across the state will compete in nine sports at UH and in nearby venues Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year's theme is "A Celebration of Heroes."

An expected 3,000 volunteers will be needed at UH and across the city to help coordinate and organize the events as they take place.

"Not only is the event inspirational for those who attend and good for the local economy. It also demonstrates the ability of our city to host major multi-venue sporting events," said Charles J. O'Connell, chairman and CEO of Bank One, Texas, and games director for the fifth consecutive year.

"I hope Houston will continue to embrace the games with both financial and volunteer support," he added.

Anyone able to volunteer either several hours or for an entire day is encouraged to sign up and help make the summer games possible.

While UH is serving as the center of events, other venues will include the Downtown YMCA, Rice University, the Fort Bend County Fair Grounds, the Bear Creek Golf Course and Brown's Gymnasium.

Special Olympics Texas provides year-round training for more than 21,000 children and adults with mental retardation and related disabilities in Texas.

The privately funded, nonprofit organization aims to provide year-round training and competition for the athletes to enhance self-esteem, independence and fitness.

Anyone interested in learning more about, or volunteering to help with, the Special Olympics Texas Summer Games should call (281) 587-5270.

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