Special Olympics takes the spotlight with help from the campus community

150 TU students, faculty and staff are among the volunteers at this weekend’s Summer Games.

Law enforcement officials-who’ve journeyed from all four corners of Maryland-jog down Auburn Drive, carrying the Olympic torches. Athletes line up by delegation outside SECU Arena. The cauldron is lit. The Games begin.

This weekend more than 2,000 athletes, coaches and volunteers will gather on Towson University’s campus for the 46th annual Summer Games of Special Olympics Maryland. After months of training, athletes will compete for medals in aquatics, bocce, cheerleading, softball, and track & field.

More than 150 TU faculty, staff and students will be among the volunteers at the Summer Games. Students from the College of Health Professions will help conduct free dental, vision and hearing screenings as part of the Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes program. Student-athletes from the women’s basketball team will participate in the opening ceremonies, and staff from Event and Conference Services, Facilities Management, Athletics and other departments help to plan and run the event. 

This year marks the 38th time the games have been held on campus.

“The Summer Games are a true partnership between Special Olympics Maryland and Towson University,” said Mike Czarnowsky, vice president of programs for Special Olympics Maryland. “From the events and athletics staff to the volunteers, we are all personally invested in the Games—and that makes all the difference in the world in creating a quality event for our athletes and spectators.”

The Games begin Friday morning with cheerleading competitions from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Towson Center. That evening, a block party will fill Lot 20 with live music, dance demonstrations, art activities, sports clinics and food trucks. The block party is set for 5 to 7 p.m. behind SECU Arena.

The Parade of Athletes and Opening Ceremonies will be held in SECU Arena at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Each of the 18 Special Olympics Maryland delegations will be introduced as the athletes from that delegation parade into the arena alongside their coaches, to the cheers of waiting family and friends. There will be remarks from local officials and the lighting of the Olympic torch.

Competition continues at 8 a.m. Saturday with track and field events in Unitas Stadium, softball games at the TU softball stadium and Cockeysville Middle School, aquatics competition at Loyola Blakefield, and bocce on the TU soccer fields. That evening, the Olympic Park and Victory Dance will be held in the Towson Center from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring a DJ, dancing and movie screening. There will also be a home run derby in the TU softball stadium at approximately 7 p.m., directly after the 5:30 p.m. softball game.

The aquatics, track and field, bocce and softball competitions continue Sunday from approximately 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public for all of the Summer Games, including the sporting events, block party and Opening Ceremonies. Parking for the events will be available in Lots 13 and 14.

More information on the Special Olympics Maryland Summer Games