The torch is lit in the opening ceremony of the first and hopefully last virtual summer games for the Special Olympics of Michigan.
“I know the games look a little different this year and I wish that we could all be together to compete and celebrate,” said Detroit Lions Kicker Matt Prater.
Messages from professional athletes like Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater and former MSU Spartan and current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins were included in the online video ceremony.
There was also a message from Gov. Whitmer.
“For all of you amazing athletes these games are an opportunity to push yourselves,” said Whitmer.
Hundreds of athletes from across the state signed up to take part in the virtual games.
They’ll compete in various competitions at home.
Special Olympics Senior Director of Communications Aaron Mills says the athletes will then report their results and champions will be honored in a ceremony to close out the week.
“Saturday, we’re going to have a recap show,” said Mills. “There will be a mini sports cast where we’re gonna be out there and talking on some of the highlights of the week and go over the top scores.”
Mills says the online initiative also included a health and wellness training program that covered the six weeks leading up to the virtual games.
He says it’s been a great way to keep the nonprofit engaged with athletes during the pandemic.