Our Opinion: Return of Special Olympics state games welcomed

Nice rebound.

Jefferson City again will host the Special Olympics Missouri State Outdoor Games, beginning next year.

A four-year contract to hold the statewide competition in the Capital City was announced Wednesday by Mark Musso, president and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri.

More than 900 athletes and coaches from throughout the state will converge at local venues from Oct. 3-5, 2014, to compete in softball, tennis, soccer, bocce, flag football and golf.

Musso acknowledged the “outstanding” venues and “incredible” volunteer assistance when the games were hosted by Jefferson City prior to 2007.

We join the city officials and community leaders who eagerly welcome the return of Special Olympics state games.

Our reasons are twofold.

First, the state games bring visitors to Jefferson City — family, friends and spectators, in addition to players and coaches — and boost the local economy.

Diane Gillispie, executive director of the local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), estimates more than $125,000 will be generated by the event, based on the anticipated occupancy of 250 rooms for three nights.

In addition, the Special Olympics events traditionally have provided spectators with spirited competition and exemplary sportsmanship.

Hosting the statewide athletic events is no small chore.

An estimated 500 volunteers will be needed to prepare venues, direct traffic and parking, and assist at events and ceremonies.

We encourage the “incredible” volunteers who assisted in the past to reconvene, and we invite others to join their ranks.

Participation as volunteers and spectators is a welcome way to support the Special Olympics state games and the community.

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