Campus Life

Special Olympics athletes will compete at Penn State beginning May 31

More than 2,000 Special Olympics athletes, about 750 coaches, and many volunteers will be a part of the 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games from May 31 to June 2 on Penn State's University Park campus. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Let the games begin.

Once again this year, Penn State’s University Park campus will be abuzz with athletes competing in the Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Summer Games. Athletes from across the state will converge on campus and neighboring State College for the 2018 games from May 31 to June 2.

“We are thrilled to continue our longstanding relationship with Penn State University and look forward to hosting our annual Summer Games on campus for the 31st consecutive year,” said Matthew Aaron, president and CEO of SOPA. "Members of the entire State College community continue to welcome our athletes, coaches and volunteers with open arms.”

Before the 2018 Summer Games begin, the “Be a Fan” torch run will be held from May 29 to 31, covering the distance between Pittsburgh and State College/University Park. The torch will be a focal point of the opening ceremonies, which will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31, in the Pegula Ice Arena on campus.

Special Olympics events run the gamut and include between 20 and 30 different types of sports, including aquatics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball, tennis and more, with many events taking place in the same facilities used by Penn State's own athletes.

“The partnership that Special Olympics Pennsylvania has with Penn State far exceeds just access to state-of-the-art athletic facilities and athlete housing for our annual Summer Games,” said Aaron. “The University also graciously hosts our annual Beaver Stadium Run, which has raised over $2 million dollars in its nine-year history. And, Penn State student-athletes frequently volunteer their time at Summer Games, the Beaver Stadium Run, and numerous other Special Olympics events and activities throughout the year.”

Several Penn State football players, including Saquon Barkley (26) and Tom Devenney, joined in the festivities at the 2016 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games opening ceremonies held June 2 at Penn State's Pegula Ice Arena. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

In addition to more than 2,000 Special Olympics athletes, the Summer Games include about 750 coaches and many volunteers.

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Special Olympics, including how to volunteer and/or donate, go to A full schedule of events is available online

The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games will be officially opened with the lighting of the Flame of Hope during the opening ceremonies on Thursday, May 31.  Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 15, 2018