Special Olympics Spring Games reopen after three-year hiatus

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – After a three-year hiatus, the Special Olympics Spring Games are back. Thousands of athletes invade the courts and corridors this weekend.

2019 was the final Spring Games event for Special Olympics. The pause comes from the pandemic, with many Special Olympics athletes considered in the higher risk category for COVID.

The pandemic was forgotten on Saturday as the athletes took to the court for five-on-five basketball.

Basketball and bowling are the two sports of this year’s Spring Games. Lincoln is the host site this weekend as athletes competed at Lincoln Northeast and Lincoln NorthStar on Saturday. There are more than 1,000 participants from across the state, including teams from Lincoln, Fremont, Beatrice, Omaha and Scottsbluff.

Organizers said it was difficult to take a break from the games because the athletes love it and are grateful to finally be back in person this year.

“You can just say everyone is thrilled to be here,” said Taylor Wolf, director of volunteer services for Special Olympics. “Our athletes seem even more upbeat, positive and intense than usual. You can tell they haven’t done it in a while, so they’re excited to be here and ready to compete.

This year also marks 50 years of Special Olympics in Nebraska. The Summer Games are set for mid-May. Sunday morning athletes compete in singles bowling at Sun Valley Lanes. It’s free and open to the public to watch and support.

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