Prepare for the Olympic Summer Games in St. Paul

Who’s ready for the heat of summer sunshine and weekends spent cheering your child and her friends on as they compete in their favorite warm weather sports?

Summer will be here before you know it and our Lions United athletes are already busy training and building their skills in preparation for competing in this year’s Special Olympics Summer Games.

The kickoff event for the state’s Summer Games is the gymnastics competition which will be held June 14th-15th at Concordia University’s Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul.

The bulk of this year’s state-level Special Olympics Summer Games will be held on the weekend of June 21-23 at the University of St. Thomas (also located in St. Paul). Events will include track and field, basketball and swimming.

Admission to the Summer Games is free so that the whole family can enjoy the experience. All of the exciting celebration ceremonies and entertainment are open to the public. After watching the parade of athletes, stop by Victory Village to take part in all sorts of adventures including an Escape Room, human foosball, a rock-climbing wall, and arcade

When you are ready to sit down and watch the sporting events, here’s what to expect:

Track and Field

The track and field competitions feature athletes of all ability levels competing in everything from a 10 meter assisted walk to the high jump. Athletes who use wheelchairs will showcase their upper body strength as they compete in slaloms, obstacle courses and other events.

The unified relay pairs 2 Special Olympics athletes and two partners working together.


Always one of the most popular sports, this year’s competition will feature athletes age 8 and older competing in both full court and half court events.

Athletes with and without intellectual disabilities come together as one to compete in the unified full-court competition.

For those who are just starting and have worked to perfect their skills, there is an individual skills competition including elements such as dribbling, passing, and shooting.

Swimming events are open to all ages and comprised of individual and relay events. Athletes may compete in a variety of strokes including freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

A unified relay team made up of 2 Special Olympics athletes, and two partners augment the other swimming events.

Swimmers are grouped by ability levels with shorter length events and assisted swim or flotation events also being incorporated into the Games.


The gymnastics event list is packed full with six artistic event options for men and 4 for women. Men can choose to compete in floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. Women’s artistic events include vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.

Women are also eligible to compete in 5 rhythmic categories: rope, hoop, ball, ribbon, and clubs.

Gymnasts may choose to specialize in just a couple of events or can choose to enter the all-around competition which factors in scores from each of the individual events.

Becoming a Special Olympics Athlete

Does your child dream about becoming a Special Olympics athlete? Coming out to watch the Summer Games is an ideal introduction to not only the sports themselves but also potential teammates, coaches, and personal trainers like the Lions United team.

Coach Andy has 15 years of experience working with Special Olympics competitors. He motivates, challenges, and guides each of his athletes to be their personal best and to push themselves to the next level. With this style of mentorship, your child too may be on her way to making those Olympic gold medal dreams come true.

Special Olympics Summer games in St. Paul, MN
Lions United featured on Fox 9 In Twin Cities