Special Olympics South Carolina cancels Fall State Games due to COVID-19

Special Olympics South Carolina is another organization feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — Special Olympics South Carolina is another organization feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to Spring and Summer State Games, the organization recently announced the Fall State Games will also be canceled.

Canceling any of the State Games is unprecedented.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever had to do that in the existence of our program, that I know of. I’ve been here 34 years and have never had to do it,” said Barry Coates, President and CEO of Special Olympics South Carolina.

“I do bocce, I do running, and I do bowling too. And it’s very fun,” said Cierra Davis, and Special Olympics athlete from Sumter.

“And when we canceled Spring Games, let me tell you, that was tough. We had a lot of disappointed people, certainly,” said Coates.

“I was sad. I was very, very sad. I was like ‘oh no, now I can’t see all my friends!’ But I hope maybe next year everything goes good and smoothly,” said Davis.

The cancellation of the State Games, in-person training and competitions affects more than 30,000 Special Olympics SC athletes.

“I have a phenomenal program staff that has put together a lot of online, virtual training and competition things that keep our athletes active,” said Coates.

Staying active is important; but to the athletes, Special Olympics is much more than participating in sports.

“Even though people are not perfect, that doesn’t mean that they’re not better at anything else. So the Special Olympics makes people feel good about themselves and feel better and help people make new friends,” said Davis.

There has been some good to come out of the pandemic, but everyone hopes to reconnect and resume State Games soon.

“There are a lot of ways that we will change the way we do business from an organization standpoint, from a fundraising standpoint. We’ve learned a lot of things,” said Coates.

“Hang in there, we are all in this together. And we will come through this, make sure that you wash your hands,” said Davis.

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