More than 2,000 Special Olympics Athletes to Compete in State Summer Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort

Elite athletes from around the state of Florida will compete in six events May 17 and 18

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 9, 2019) – On May 17 and 18, more than 2,000 athletes from across the state of Florida will compete in the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort – one of the premier sites for amateur sports in the nation.

The event is a culminating event for Special Olympics Florida athletes who have advanced through County and Area Games after a minimum of 10 weeks of training in their selected sport including athletics (track and field), bocce, cheerleading, cycling, soccer and volleyball.

The event, open to the public, kicks off with an Olympic-style opening ceremony featuring the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, a 1,500-mile intrastate run that began in mid-April in Jacksonville and culminates with law enforcement officers from around the state delivering the Flame of Hope to Champion Stadium.

“Ask any athlete about State Summer Games and they will immediately tell you they have their sights set on bringing home a gold medal,” said Special Olympics Florida President & CEO Sherry Wheelock. “Yet this competition represents more than just hours of training, practice and perseverance. It is also a chance to showcase their strengths and abilities to the community as we work to promote inclusion and acceptance both on and off the field.”

Prior to the May 17 opening ceremonies, Special Olympics Florida will host the inaugural Corporate Unified Soccer Challenge at the sports complex (Field 27), which will include two teams comprised of Publix Supermarket executives and Publix employees, who are also Special Olympics athletes, squaring off in a friendly soccer match at 5 p.m.

The Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games is one of three events hosted annually at Walt Disney World Resort.  Special Olympics Florida holds the Special Olympics Florida State Golf Championships at the Palm and Oak Trail Golf Courses (Sept. 6-7) and the Special Olympics Florida Fall Classic (Nov. 15-16) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where athletes will compete in six sports including powerlifting, softball, unified flag football, gymnastics, cheerleading, and track and field.  These events are part of the more than 100 entertainment and sporting events that take place each year at the sports complex.

Special Olympics Florida helps people with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large, by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and by increasing the public’s awareness of their capabilities and needs.

For additional information on the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games, including venue details and athletic event schedules, please visit

To learn more about Special Olympics Florida, please visit and follow the organization on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Special Olympics Florida provides year-round sports training, competition, and health services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, at no cost to the athletes or their caregivers, as a means to achieve physical fitness, self-esteem, socialization skills, and the life skills necessary to be productive, respected, and contributing members of their communities. To learn more, visit


ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, located at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, is one of the premier sites for amateur sports in the nation. The complex hosts more than 100 entertainment and sporting events each year and has accommodated 70 different sports featuring athletes from 70 different countries. Designed to provide professional, amateur and youth athletes with experiences synonymous with the names Disney and ESPN, the 220-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including 16 baseball/softball fields, a 9,500-seat ballpark, 18 multi-purpose outdoor fields for soccer, football and field hockey, three indoor venues for basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, dance and other indoor sports, a track & field facility and a cross country course. For more information, visit for news releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @ESPNWWOS and at Facebook at ESPNWWOS.


Cody Norman

Uproar PR for Special Olympics Florida



Reggie Roberts

Sports Public Relations Manager

Walt Disney World Sports