Special Olympics Held Last Weekend, Local Results


Published on June 23 2022 2:27 pm
Last Updated on June 24 2022 7:02 am

NORMAL -- Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) athletes from across the state competed in the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games from Friday, June 17-Sunday, June 19 in Normal, Illinois. The weekend of competition was held mainly at Illinois State University (ISU), with some additional competition held at Kingsley Junior High School and Normal Community High School.

More than 2,200 athletes and Unified partners competed in seven different sports – artistic gymnastics, athletics, bocce, powerlifting, soccer, swimming, and rhythmic gymnastics – along with more than 1,000 coaches, 1,000 volunteers, and 6,500 family members. Summer Games is the largest of 13 state sports competitions held throughout the year. This was the first Summer Games back in person since 2019.

Throughout the week leading up to Summer Games, 23 different legs of the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) carried the Flame of Hope throughout different communities of Illinois. On Friday afternoon, members of the Illinois LETR ran across Bloomington-Normal with the Flame of Hope, carrying it to its final destination – the Opening Ceremony at ISU’s Hancock Stadium.

Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony began Friday with the Parade of Athletes and Honorary Coaches into Hancock Stadium. Next was the entry of the Final Leg of the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run, who together with Special Olympics Illinois athletes lit the cauldron, signifying the official opening of Summer Games.

The audience enjoyed musical entertainment by America’s Got Talent Season 15 runner up, Joey Kar. The words of honored guests then filled the stadium as they addressed the crowd, including Matthew Gorski, a member of Team Illinois, who recently returned from the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games; Ben Simpson, former SOILL athlete board member; Dave Breen, SOILL President & CEO; and LETR Director, Sergeant Bill Devine. Sergeant Devine and LETR Assistant Director, Officer Dan McIntyre, presented SOILL with the group’s annual donation. This year, the members of the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run raised more than $3.3 million to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

The Healthy Athletes pavilion was located in Redbird Arena both Friday and Saturday. This free program offers health services and education to athletes, coaches, and families in need, whether competing or not. The screenings offered at Summer Games included vision, hearing, physical therapy, and dental.

Uptown Normal was the scene of dancing in the streets on Saturday evening, as it hosted the Victory Dance, providing athletes a chance to celebrate their accomplishments and socialize with friends new and old.

Families are an integral part of Special Olympics Illinois and of the Summer Games. These proud supporters were seen in the stands, on the sidelines, serving on games committees and as coaches. Over the weekend, our SOILL families enjoyed the chance to socialize at the Families Tailgate Picnic where members of the Knights of Columbus from both the Epiphany and Bloomington chapters grilled burgers and helped serve family members, along with other event volunteers.  

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2022 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games:

Gold Medal Sponsors: Casey’s, Dunkin’, Gallagher, Illinois Knights of Columbus, Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Jersey Mike’s, Jewel-Osco, Pacira BioSciences Inc., Sloan Global Holdings, Inc., and United Airlines Bronze Medal Sponsors: American Legion & American Legion Auxiliary, Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Central Image Wraps, Normal Firefighters Assn Local 2442, and State Farm

Venue Sponsors: Alexander’s Steakhouse, Avanti’s Italian Restaurants, Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company, IL ABLE, Town of Normal, and Uptown Normal
Media Sponsors: Cumulus Radio Bloomington, Lamar Advertising, The Pantagraph, and WMBD-TV/WYZZ.

To learn more about Summer Games, go to soill.org/summergames.

About Special Olympics Illinois 

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit sports organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 9,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. It strives to be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community by providing year round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership and personal development.

If you are interested in being a part of Special Olympics Illinois and its vision, contact your local region, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org. Follow Special Olympics Illinois on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Effingham County Lightning

Karissa Bean -- 4x100 Relay, second place; Mini Javelin, fifth place; Long Jump, third place

Kraig Dahnke -- 100, fourth place; 4x100 Relay, fourth place; Shotput, eighth place

Thomas Frichtl -- 200, first place; 4x100 Relay, fourth place; Shotput, first place

Adam Gharst -- 400, second place; Softball Throw, second

Marie Abbie Koester -- 200, first place; Mini Javelin, sixth place

Bradon Lee -- Running Long Jump, third place; Shotput, third place

Jessica Ludwig -- Bocce Traditional Singles, third place

Tyler Ludwig -- 400, first place; 4x100 Relay, fourth place

Caleb Scott -- 200, second place; 4x100 Relay, second place

Emily Stead -- 4x100 Relay, second place; Mini Javelin, second place

Chase Wendte, 200, fourth place; 4x100 Relay, fourth place; Shotput, fifth place

Macey Williamson -- 200, fourth place; Mini Javelin, eighth place

Rachel Zakutansky -- 200, first place; 4x100 Relay, second; MIni Javelin, fourth place

Camp New Hope

Tyler Tutt -- Softball Throw, third place

Neoga & Sigel

Dino Hall -- 1500 Run, second place; Softball Throw, third place

Brittany Jones -- 100, second place


Owen Figgins, 100, fifth place; Softball Throw, fourth place

Madison Orrick -- Tennis Ball Throw, first place