Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) – The 37th annual Special Olympics Tennessee begins its winter olympics on Sunday in Sevier County, and it’s expected have the largest athlete turnout ever.

“This is going to be huge. We’ve added multiple sports last year, we added 3 vs. 3 basketball. This year, we added a fitness combine, so it’s a fully inclusive event where so many different athletes are finally be able to participate,” Justin Bradford, Communications Director for the Olympics, said.

Bradford said this is the biggest year ever with 475 athletes from all across Tennessee. They’ll compete in Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Speed Skating, Basketball, and a fitness combine.

Bradford said the organization’s growth is exciting.

“It’s all about inclusion,” he said. “We want the athletes to have the opportunity to be able to compete, to be amongst their peers, to be amongst family and friends. We want to give them a chance to be a champion.”

On Sunday, the athletes registered, got fitted for equipment, and went through health screenings ahead of the opening ceremony.

Bradford said people are encouraged to come out and support the athletes.

“Our athletes are doing things so many of us can’t even do,” Bradford said. “When I see our athletes out there snowboarding, I know I can’t do that.”

Bradford said the competitions run all day Monday and Tuesday at Ober Mountain, Gatlinburg Convention Center, and Rocky Top Sports World.

If you want to follow the results of the games, click here.

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