With all the changes in 2020, it makes the slow return of events that much more exciting. Communities are ready to integrate social activities into daily life again and understand that changes have been made, and they might not look quite the same as before. Terre Haute is no exception, and Special Olympics Indiana will be making its return to both in person and virtual events this year.
Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization that is a part of the global Special Olympics movement. They use sports, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Indiana has grown to more than 18,000 athletes and partners across almost every county in the State of Indiana. With the support of over 10,000 coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the participants.
Each summer, Terre Haute has the amazing opportunity to host the Summer Games. The event is not only a community event of goodwill, but also a tourism surge for local businesses. Special Olympics Indiana has been coming to Terre Haute for the last 50 years and President and CEO, Jeff Mohler, says that, “In 2021, for our 52nd anniversary, the message will be even more heightened because it will be a message of reunion when we are all back together again in Terre Haute at summer games.” After going virtual in 2020, Mohler says they are incredibly appreciative of the support shown by the Terre Haute community and is hoping for a huge crowd coming back for the reunion.
Although the 2020 games were virtual, they were very distinctive. They shifted the usual week-long event into a five-week-long virtual Special Olympics Sport and Fitness Challenge. All athletes, coaches and volunteers from across the state were challenged to participate. Local county Special Olympics programs accumulated points and competed against each other. The opening ceremonies took place virtually, and the challenge concluded with virtual closing ceremonies and awards.
The 2021 Summer Games will take place June 11th-13th and additional details will be announced in the coming months. If you are looking to get involved now, the Special Olympics Indiana 2021 Polar Plunge – Freezing for a Reason, is currently accepting registrations. The 2020 Polar Plunge was a record-breaking year and was able to bring in $920,000 to support year-round programs and events. The Polar Plunge is a series of exhilarating events held each winter where individuals and teams brave the elements by taking an icy dip to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.
Each plunge has its own unique personality, and this year Terre Haute is going shark themed. On Saturday, March 20, at the Moon Lite Drive-In Theater, Plungers will take a quick dip into a pool of freezing water before being treated to a screening of JAWS on the big screen. Spectators and others can watch the plunge, the movie or both! Gates and registration will open at 6:00 PM, followed by the plunge from 6:30-7:30 PM and the movie showtime at 8:15 PM.
Learn more and register today by visiting PolarPlungeIN.org.