Special Olympics New York Announces Return of State Fall Games After 5-Year Absence

Glens Falls to Attract 1,300 Special Olympics Athletes, Coaches, & Families from Throughout New York as Host of State Fall Games

Glens Falls, NY – Special Olympics New York and Glens Falls officials today announced the return of State Fall Games, which is expected to draw nearly 1,300 athletes, coaches, and families from throughout the state to Glens Falls this October to compete in seven fall sports: bocce, cycling, golf, equestrian, soccer, softball, and cross-country running.

State Fall Games was eliminated from the Special Olympics New York budget five years ago due to financial constraints, leaving 19,000 fall sports athletes without this signature state-level competition.

The return of State Fall Games was announced today at a press conference at City Hall. The Games will be held Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 at sporting venues throughout the Glens Falls and Queensbury area.

“At nearly every Special Olympics event I attend, an athlete will ask me, ‘When are you going to bring back Fall Games?’ This opportunity means everything to our athletes, who train year-round preparing to go up against the best of the best,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “I cannot overstate how thankful we are to the Glens Falls community for helping us return statewide competition to our 19,000 fall sports athletes as we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2020.”

“Softball is my favorite sport and I cannot wait to go for the gold at Fall Games in my hometown,” said Special Olympics New York Athlete Jude Killar of the Capital Region. Killar competes in multiple sports with Special Olympics New York. In 2019, he was also recruited as a member of the Special Olympics New York staff as a marketing and development specialist.

“State Fall Games represents an opportunity for citizens and employers in the Capital Region to show our support for one of New York State’s most treasured principles – inclusion,” said New York State Senator Betty Little. “We are proud to host Special Olympics New York again in 2020 as the statewide organization celebrates 50 years delivering on its mission of providing sports opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and sharing the important message of inclusion with all New Yorkers.”

“The Glens Falls community is excited to welcome back Special Olympics New York athletes, coaches, and families, and we look forward to providing the best Fall Games experience yet,” said Glens Falls Mayor Daniel L. Hall. “Whether you can lend a hand by volunteering, sponsoring, or providing an in-kind service to support the athletes, I encourage every member of the community to get involved.”

“When Glens Falls hosted the Special Olympics New York Fall Games in 2014 and 2015, the event quickly became about so much more than sports. It brought our community together in a special way – it was truly a celebration of all people and all abilities,” said Michael Bittel, Adirondack Chamber of Commerce President & CEO and Chair of the Fall Games Organizing Committee. “I am proud and honored to serve as Chair of the Games Organizing Committee that will bring this tremendous, inclusive experience back to the Adirondacks.”

The Games Organizing Committee led by Bittel is currently seeking sponsors and in-kind partners to help defray the cost of the statewide Fall Games and ensure the event is a success for Special Olympics New York athletes and their families. Interested parties should contact Stacy Eder at seder@nyso.org.

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About Special Olympics New York

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with nearly 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.

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