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Special Olympics Missouri Kicks Off Thursday

Young athletes are coming to town to take over the Drury and Missouri State Campuses Thursday through Saturday. It’s time, once again, for the Special Olympics Missouri.KSMU’s Erika Brame has more.

The 2009 Special Olympics Missouri, also known as SOMO, is bringing together athletes from all over the state to compete in soccer, powerlifting, aquatics and bocce ball.The opening ceremony will take place Thursday night at the Plaster Sports Complex with the lighting of the torch by Missouri law enforcement officers.Mandi Mueller is the public relations coordinator for SOMO.She says local celebrities will also perform for the athletes.

“That’s the ceremony when all our athletes parade in. We’ve got some entertainment. We’ve got Yakov Smirnoff coming and Sons of the Silver Dollar coming. It’s kind of a country theme so we have all kinds of fun country themed stuff going on,” she said.

The games will be held all weekend long and are open to the public.Mueller says the work of volunteers is what keeps the games going.

“Well our volunteers, we rely on them for everything, they run our games. We would not be able to do this without the support of volunteers,” she said.

As of now, 900 volunteers will help athletes compete in this year’s Special Olympics. But, Mueller says they still need more.

“You don’t have to have any sports knowledge or experience. You don’t have to have ever volunteered at Special Olympics before; we’ll train you on site. And they do things from keeping scores to taking water around to athletes to helping present the medals. There’s a wide variety of things you can do if you want to be a volunteer.” she said.

For KSMU News I’m Erika Brame.

LINKS: Special Olympics Missouri 2009