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Special Olympics Delaware cancels 2020 Summer Games

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Special Olympics Delaware has canceled the 2020 Summer Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter below from Executive Director Ann Grunert was sent out to members and supporters of the organization and is posted at sode.org.

“To our many friends,” wrote Grunert. “In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, we wanted to take a moment and thank each and every one of you for understanding the difficult decisions that have been made to date. Cancelling our fundraising and sports events and the many planning and training gatherings that often happen leading up to them is truly disappointing for everyone. The reality for us is — nothing is more important than your health and safety.”

“With that thought in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Summer Games,” continued Grunert. “This decision was made keeping in mind the health and safety of every person involved at the Games along with the fact that given the restrictions set forth by Special Olympics Inc. and the State of Delaware, it would be impossible for our athletes and teams to properly train leading up to the games.”

“And with the cancellation of the Summer Games, unfortunately all of the festivities around and including the Torch Run are also canceled,” continued Grunert. “With that difficult decision behind us, we are now turning our focus to the coming weeks and months as our organization celebrates its 50th anniversary. We have many activities planned to recognize this special occasion and some are already underway.”

“Athlete health and training initiatives like School of Strength and Fit 5 have already started — but it’s not too late to join at sode.org — and, coming soon, we are offering a virtual walk/run/bike/roll challenge open to our entire SODE community of athletes, coaches, families, volunteers and friends,” continued Grunert.

“50th Anniversary Celebration: While our plan was to kick off the celebration at the 2020 Summer Games, our hope is to begin the celebration of our 50th anniversary as soon as we are able to come back together as an organization,” continued Grunert. “This will include, among other things, the unveiling of the official 50th anniversary medals and ribbons, designed specifically for Delaware, which will be awarded to all athletes at state competitions during the 2020-21 program year.”

“So … while we are facing the disappointment of not having a Summer Games this year, we can be thankful that there is a lot to look forward to once this situation is behind us,” continued Grunert. “Throughout this process, while working to ensure the safety of our athletes, coaches, volunteers, supporters and our entire SODE family, we have realized how much we appreciate each of you and your dedication to our mission — to bring individuals with intellectual disabilities out from behind closed doors and into a community of acceptance and respect. Thank you for being such a valuable partner in this effort.”

“Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions,” closed Grunert. “Stay safe, stay strong, stay healthy.”

For more on Special Olympics Delaware, visit sode.org.