On Friday, June 7th, through Sunday, June 9th, the 2019 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games took place at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, NJ. Over 2,500 Special Olympics New Jersey athletes, 10,000+ spectators, and 3,000+ volunteers gathered together for an incredible weekend. Throughout the 3-day event, athletes competed in seven different sports, including Bocce, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, and Track & Field. Competition venues consisted of Armstrong Memorial Park, Schafer Sports Center, and various locations across TCNJ’s campus.
Law Enforcement Torch Run
Prior to the start of the annual games, Special Olympics New Jersey kicked off the weekend with the 36th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Every year, New Jersey law enforcement officers exchange their uniforms for running gear as they carry the “Flame of Hope” throughout the state into the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games Opening Ceremony. This year, there were over 3,000 officers participating within 26 separate Torch Run legs, which started and finished at various locations across the state.
The annual Torch Run will raise close to $600,000 in 2019 and not only provides funds, but gives the law enforcement community a chance to show their support and admiration of our athletes. What an exciting way to jump into the biggest competition event of the year!
Opening Ceremony at The College of New Jersey
On a beautiful evening, Friday, June 7th, at Lions Stadium on TCNJ’s campus, thousands of athletes, volunteers and spectators gathered to officially kickoff the games at the Opening Ceremony. There was an energetic athlete parade where families, friends, law enforcement, and fellow teammates cheered on each area as they entered the stadium and took their spot on the field.
A breathtaking performance of ”God Bless America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by SONJ athlete, Destiny.
The night was followed by memorable speeches, music by DJ Redline, an epic dance party, and one electrifying sunset that will never be forgotten.
Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 were jam packed with competition events and activities for the whole family, not just the participating athletes. Spectators happily cruised around Olympic Village at Trenton Hall Lawn, where a few dozen Year-Round Partners offered games, giveaways, and chances to win awesome prizes.
There were Youth Athletes activities, a Future Stars race, Athlete Experience, and much much more!
Not to mention, the SONJ Souvenir tent was a hot spot during the event where everyone stopped by to check out the latest SONJ swag!
Shoprite, a proud partner of Special Olympics New Jersey for the last 30 years, provided FREE lunches all weekend to everyone attending Summer Games. Nearly 20,000 lunches in all!
SONJ also offered FREE health exams and services to ALL athletes throughout the weekend at the newly renovated Brower Student Center in the following disciplines: Baseline Concussion Assessments, Fit Feet, FUNfitness, Health Promotion, Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes, and Special Smiles.
After each Healthy Athlete screening, athletes received a free giveaway specific to that discipline, and were also offered a chance to enter into a free drawing to win bigger ticket items! Prizes included tickets to local sporting events, autographed sports memorabilia, tickets to the Camden Aquarium and much more!
The months of of training, hard work and determination finally paid off for the athletes competing in this year’s Summer Games. Thousands of medals were given out and countless memories were made. Complete results and photos from the weekend may be found at the following links:
The 2019 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games truly was an unforgettable weekend! Special Olympics New Jersey thanks everyone who competed, volunteered, sponsored, donated, and cheered-on our athletes at this year’s Summer Games! We couldn’t have done it without you!