ORONO, Maine — More than 1,500 athletes, ages 8-88, have been training and planning for the 45th annual Special Olympics Maine State Summer Games, which will be held June 7-9, at University of Maine, Orono. Approximately 125 teams hailing from Kittery to Presque Isle will compete in the Olympic-style sports events.
Leading up to the games, nearly 600 members of Maine Law Enforcement are carrying the Olympic Torch, the Flame of Hope, across the state, trying to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Maine. The run began in Sanford on June 4, and will conclude on Friday with a final leg at UM.
Competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 6, with bowling and unified bowling. (Unified events bring together athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without for an opportunity to compete together on the same team.) On Friday the excitement continues with time trials, Bocce competitions and relays.
Friday evening, June 7, always proves to be a fun-filled night with our annual Law Enforcement Torch Run final leg arriving around 4:30 p.m., our parade at 6 p.m. followed by opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. On Saturday morning, Track and Field events begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until approximately 3:30 p.m. In addition to the competition, athletes will be treated to an Olympic Village full of games and entertainment. Saturday night includes the annual Victory Dance in the field house. The theme for this year’s dance is “Mexican Fiesta”. On Sunday morning the events conclude with Walk and Mile Run finals and closing ceremonies.
An added bonus for athletes is the Healthy Athletes program. Special Olympics Maine athletes will have the opportunity to be seen and evaluated in free dental, PT, hearing and podiatry screenings. Special Smiles, under the direction of Dr. Scott Trowbridge, has offered free screenings for the past 12 years. Jen Corbeil, a physical therapist, has a group of physical therapists who offer free PT screenings where athletes are checked on range of motion, strength, and fitness. Exercise plans are offered to each athlete. Healthy Hearing, under the direction of Amy Booth from the Hearing Institute at UM will offer free hearing screenings; and for the second year we will offer our Fit Feet exams under the direction of Dr. Roy Corbin, podiatrist from Bangor who is also the University of Maine teams’ podiatrist and a great “fit” for Special Olympics Maine. Each of these directors have attended a National Special Olympics Directors Training in order to become certified Directors of the Healthy Athletes program.
On Saturday during the games, the athletes will have the opportunity during their free time, to enjoy fun and games in the annual Olympic Village. This year’s Village will be named “Mickey’s Olympic Village” in honor and in memory of former CEO and founder of Special Olympics Maine, Mickey Boutileir. Mickey passed away on Christmas Eve and this years games will serve as a Celebration of Life for him. Mickey loved two things: ice cream and his Special Olympic athletes. The games will be held in his memory and ice cream will be offered in Olympic Village. The Olympic Village Committee, formally under the direction of Mickey Boutilier, has organized several events including an art station, games and an “Olympic Idol” competition.