Special Olympics NJ Summer Games return after 2-year hiatus (PHOTOS)


Athletes waited three years for these Summer Olympics and a little rain was not going to dampen their spirits.

The rain washed out the pétanque competition, but the athletics events took place in the rain and tennis was moved indoors.

More than 1,500 athletes competed over three days in seven sports at New Jersey Special Olympics games this past weekend at the College of New Jersey in Ewing. The games were canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s amazing to come back and see our athletes smiling,” said Special Olympics New Jersey spokesman Jeremy Davis.

The organization provides year-round athletic training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The summer games have seven sports: pétanque, gymnastics, weightlifting, softball, swimming, track and field and tennis.

Nicholas Vales won gold and Silvern Cush won silver in the mini javelin athletics event. Cush wrapped his arm around Vales and celebrated with the crowd.

Arms in the air, Katarina Wilcox greeted Bryce Barlow after the 50-meter walk race. Barlow surveyed the pitch but waited for the crowd to be behind him, when the cheers got loud enough, Barlow strolled down the track with the cheers and enthusiasm building as he casually crossed the finish line and received a high five.

It was time to get his medal.

Hundreds of medals were handed out Sunday to athletes competing in a variety of sports.

“Everyone is together again, it’s just priceless,” Davis said.

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Ed Murray can be reached at emurray@njadvancemedia.com.

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