TCNJ is preparing to welcome more than 3,500 athletes and their families to campus for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, which run from June 14-June 21. The College will host the basketball, bocce ball and power lifting competitions, an Olympic Village for athletes from 27 states, a “healthy athletes experience,” and a Jersey Shore boardwalk-themed festival featuring amusement rides, games, vendors, pin trading and other interactive activities.
“The College of New Jersey is thrilled to be part of hosting the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games,” said TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “As the host site to the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games for more than 20 years, we enjoy a special relationship with this outstanding organization. I am so pleased that our college community will have the privilege to welcome and support these extraordinary athletes, their families, coaches and friends.”
TCNJ’s ties to the Special Olympics are many, reaching back to the start of the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games. Bessie Cutter Perlman, class of 1925, was instrumental in bringing the games to the state in 1969, an accomplishment that earned her the title of “Mother of New Jersey Special Olympics.” Marc Edenzon MEd ’85 is the president of the state games, and Tom Sullivan ’80 serves on the Board of Directors.
Special Olympics has become part of the culture of TCNJ, having hosted the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games since 1990. Annually during TCNJ’s Welcome Week, first-year students participate in a walk-a-thon event, raising more than $100,000 for Special Olympics.
For the USA Games, TCNJ will also host a “Journey Through The Human Body,” an interactive experience for athletes to learn about health and receive free health screenings from some of the country’s top medical staff.
The Special Olympics USA Games are held once every four years. A full schedule of events is available on the Special Olympics website.