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The Olympic Spirit is Alive and Well in New Jersey

Tom Sullivan

August 9, 2016
Tom Sullivan

The eyes of the world are on Rio 2016 as athletes from over 200 nations come together not just to compete but to celebrate the human spirit. For the athletes, the stakes are high: a lifetime of dedication and training are tested in an event that may last a few seconds. As spectators, we are drawn in by the array of human emotions on display. A humble and hyper-focused Michael Phelps is feeling the weight of history. USA swimmer, Lilly King, wins the gold and takes a direct stance against doping, proving that a “clean” athlete can win even if by microseconds. We are fortunate to feel what’s going on in Rio courtesy of television and streaming video. But how close can you really get to personally experiencing the Olympic Spirit?

Right here in New Jersey, we have a precious asset, the Special Olympics of New Jersey, where the Olympic Spirit is available for anyone to experience close to home. You have probably heard of the Summer Games where thousands of athletes and volunteers from every part of the state come together for four days of serious competition, fun and friendship-building. But did you know that Special Olympics New Jersey provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 24 Olympic-type sports for more than 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, completely free of charge? In addition to the statewide events in summer, winter, spring and fall, there are area, county, sectional and regional competitions.

If you are interested in coaching or volunteering, you can get connected to a program close to you. And, if you know a college student in New Jersey, they can get involved in Unified Sports right on many campuses. You don’t need to wait every two or four years to catch Olympic fever because the Olympic spirit is alive and well every day in New Jersey.

carly loyd

Carli Lloyd, the leading scorer for the US Women’s soccer team, addresses sponsors before the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Games at The College of New Jersey.

bagpippers

Bagpipers lead the procession of the law enforcement community. Each year, thousands of New Jersey’s law enforcement community come together to raise support and volunteer their time.

 

Athletes in the Oarade of Champions begin to fill the field.

Athletes in the Parade of Champions begin to fill the field.                                                                             

audience

The Law Enforcement Tourch Run brings runners together from across the state, culminating with the torch lighting ceremony to kick-off the games.