2023 Summer Games at TCNJ

On Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, the 2023 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games took place at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, NJ. Over 2,000 Special Olympics New Jersey athletes, along with thousands of spectators and volunteers gathered together to kick off an incredible weekend at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night. 

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 spots on the field. For the 2nd year in row, SONJ live-streamed the Opening Ceremony via Facebook.

Throughout the 3-day event, athletes competed in seven different sports, including Athletics (Track & Field)BocceGymnasticsPowerliftingSoftballSwimming, and Tennis. Competition venues consisted of Armstrong Memorial Park, Schafer Sports Center, and various locations across TCNJ’s campus. 

The months 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:

40th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run

Prior to the start of the annual games, Special Olympics New Jersey kicked off the weekend with the 40th 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. Over 3,000 officers participated from over 400 police departments covering over 750 miles across the Garden State!

SONJ’s LETR countdown post from Twitter.

The annual Torch Run will raise close to $550,000 by the end of the year 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 season! 

Saturday, June 10 was 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.

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!

SONJ’s Souvenir tent at the 2023 Summer Games.

ShopRite, a proud partner of Special Olympics New Jersey for the last 31 years, provided FREE lunches, treats and cold waters all weekend to everyone attending Summer Games. Over 16,000 lunches were distributed!

SONJ volunteers with their free lunch provided by ShopRite.

Young Athletes

At Summer Games, the smallest members of our community learned basics like balance, running, throwing, and kicking, in addition to running the 25-meter Future Stars Race; all while making new friends and having fun! Over the course of 2 days, SONJ had a total of 120 Young Athletes participate.

Healthy Athletes

SONJ also offered FREE health exams and services to ALL athletes throughout the weekend at the newly renovated Brower Student Center in the following 8 disciplines: Baseline Concussion AssessmentsFit Feet, FUNfitnessHealth PromotionHealthy HearingOpening EyesSpecial Smiles, and Strong Minds. Fun fact – This was the 2nd time SONJ hosted 8 Healthy Athletes disciplines at an event. Throughout the weekend over 2,804 screenings were completed in each of the 8 disciplines. Additionally, 760 unique athletes were screened and over 444 pair of eyewear were provided.

Shout out to Oofos for supplying 300 pairs of Active Recovery footwear to our athletes!

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! 

Healthy Athletes at the Brower Student Center, TCNJ.

Healthy Athletes at Summer Games:

  • Baseline Concussion Assessment: 221 screenings
  • Fit Feet: 384 screenings
  • FUNfitness: 170 screenings
  • Healthy Hearing: 226 screenings
  • Health Promotion: 257 screenings
  • Strong Minds: 170 screenings
  • Special Smiles: 265 screenings
  • Opening Eyes: 351 screenings
  • Total pair of eyewear provided to athletes: 444 
  • Total screenings for the weekend in all 8 disciplines: 2,804
  • 760 unique athletes visited Healthy Athletes  

Thank you @TCNJ for hosting our 2,800+ Healthy Athletes at Summer Games! #sonj #sonjsummergames #health #volunteers #specialolympics #nj

♬ Driver Side Lifestyle – BLVKSHP

The 2023 Summer Games was an unforgettable weekend! Special Olympics New Jersey thanks everyone who competed, volunteered, sponsored, donated, and cheered on our athletes at this year’s event! We couldn’t have done it without YOU!

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