Special Olympics State Winter Games to be held in Syracuse

Hundreds of volunteers needed for February events

Special Olympics New York officials have announced that the State Winter Games will be held in Syracuse in February of 2010-11. State Winter Games showcase the achievements of Special Olympics athletes and is one of three annual state games and 4,000 competitive experiences held each year throughout New York.

On the weekend of Feb. 5 and 6, 2010, in Syracuse, more than 400 Special Olympics New York athletes and coaches from across the state will join the State Winter Games. Athletic competitions will be held in Alpine and Nordic skiing, speed and figure skating, floor hockey and snowshoeing. More than 450 volunteers from surrounding communities are needed to support the event and are key to its success.

Co-honorary chairs of the State Winter Games are Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney and James Gaspo, president of Citizens Bank. Co-games organizing committee chairs are William Fisher and Ann Rooney, also from the Onondaga County executive's office. Citizens Bank and Wegmans Food Markets are premier event sponsors.

All State Winter Games events are free and open to the public.

Event schedule:

* Opening Ceremonies will be held at 7 p.m. Friday Feb. 5 at the Oncenter Complex, featuring the Parade of Athletes, entertainment and the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron. Olympic Village, a recreation area for athletes and the public, will be open at the Oncenter prior to Opening Ceremonies. After Opening Ceremonies, floor hockey pairing games will be held at the Oncenter to division the athletes for the following day's competition.

* Athletic competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday Feb. 6 in six Olympic-style sports, including floor hockey at the Oncenter Complex, speed and figure skating at the War Memorial Arena, Alpine skiing at the Toggenburg Mountain Winter Sports Center in Fabius, Nordic Skiing at Highland Forest Park in Fabius and Snowshoeing at Thornden Park in Syracuse.

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