Special Olympics New York State Winter Games Returns to Syracuse

Events Kick Off Thursday with “A Night of Champions”

500 Athletes & Coaches to Compete in Six Sports Saturday

Syracuse, NY – It’s Games Week in Syracuse. Nearly 500 Special Olympics New York athletes and coaches —and their biggest fans—from throughout the state will be in Syracuse this weekend for the 2023 State Winter Games. Area venues will host competitions in six sports: Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, and Snowshoeing.

“It’s great to be back in Syracuse, where competitive sports are a way of life and the community so clearly values the contributions of people with all abilities,” said President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman.

“My teammates and I can’t wait for State Winter Games,” said athlete James Jewett, 38, of Chittenango, who will be competing in Snowshoeing. “The competition is always fierce at this level, and we always look forward to seeing our fellow athletes from throughout the state. Thank you, Syracuse!”

Thursday, Feb. 23

Games Week events will kick off Thursday, Feb. 23 with “A Night of Champions” at the Oncenter to honor local Game Changers and raise funds to support the Games. Discounted tickets are on sale at www.Night-of-Champions.org. Honorees include Susan Crossett, CEO of CPS Recruitment, Inc., Kenneth Greenleaf, President of CSEA Region 5, and J. Ryan McMahon, II, Onondaga County Executive. Admission includes unified games, carving stations, and complimentary cocktails.

Friday, Feb. 24

The celebration of inclusion continues Friday night with a signature Special Olympics New York Opening Ceremonies, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Oncenter. New York State Senator John Mannion and his wife, Jennifer Mannion, will emcee the event, welcoming athletes and coaches from throughout the state to Syracuse before Hengsterman and members of local law enforcement declare the Games open.

Saturday, Feb. 25

Sports competitions and medal ceremonies will be held throughout the day Saturday as follows:

  • Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at Greek Peak Ski Resort (2000 NY-392, Cortland, NY 13045)
  • Snowshoeing: 9:45 am – 3:30 pm at Green Lakes State Park Beach (7900 Green Lakes Rd., Fayetteville, NY 13066)
  • Floor Hockey: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Syracuse Oncenter (800 South State St., Syracuse, NY 13202)
  • Figure Skating: 10:00 am – 1:30 pm at Syracuse War Memorial (515 Montgomery St, Syracuse, NY 13202)
  • Closing Ceremonies & Victory Dance: 7 pm  8:30 pm at Syracuse Oncenter (800 South State St., Syracuse, NY 13202)

Volunteers are still needed to support the Games. Volunteers are asked to REGISTER HERE. Those interested in volunteering as a group can send an email to volunteers@nyso.org.

All Special Olympics New York programs, including State Winter Games, are provided at no cost to the athletes or their families. The Games are also free for spectators to attend. To support the Games either by volunteering or making a donation to help offset the costs of the Games, visit this webpage.

Video from last year’s State Winter Games in Syracuse is available HERE for broadcast use.