Special Olympics Virginia celebrates 50 years: ‘It’s all about abilities’

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Special Olympics Virginia are celebrating 50 years of the Summer Games as more than 1400 athletes compete in the Spectacular Triathlon over the weekend in Richmond.

The opening ceremony of the games took place Friday night at the University of Richmond’s Robins Center as officers completed their 1900-plus mile running of the Flame of Hope and lit the Olympic Cauldron.

Virginia law enforcement achieved their goal of raising $1.3 million for the games.

Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games

Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games

Special Olympics Virginia President Rick Jeffrey said the Summer Games provide an inclusive and motivating environment for those taking part.

“We have the opportunity for them today to engage the community, to show people what they can do and to prove their abilities,” Jeffrey said. “This is not about disabilities, it's all about abilities."

Additionally, Jeffrey said providing healthcare access is one of the “great centerpieces” of the program.

“We have about half a million-dollar health center inside the Robins Center where they can go and get dental care, optometry care -- a pair of glasses ground for you on the spot, a cavity filled,” he said.

In fact, Jeffrey said Special Olympics Virginia is the only division in the country that provides free dental procedures.

“This is an opportunity to combat the marginalization of healthcare access,” Jeffrey said.

The games continue on Sunday.

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