Capital Region hosts NYS Special Olympics Summer Games

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Special Olympics Summer Games are set to begin.

This year they’re being held right here in the Capital Region.

Athletes will compete throughout the weekend at a number of different locations including Hudson Valley Community College, UAlbany and Siena College.

Friday night’s opening ceremonies will feature a parade of athletes, honorary speakers, a flyover by state police and a memorial for NYS Trooper Tim Pratt.

Every year law enforcement agencies from all over the state partner up with Special Olympics by taking part in fundraisers, including the torch run, in order to raise money for the athletes.

Last year NEWS10 ran with the Schenectady Police Department and this past Monday we were there as officers in Saratoga kicked off this year’s Capital Region stretch of the torch run.

One of our Capital Region athletes Deanna Ritzenberg helped light the flame of hope.

Deanna has been training and competing since 2006 and she was chosen to speak at Friday night’s opening ceremonies. She is a native of Saratoga Springs.

“Happy, excited everything combined,” Ritzenberg said.

“She’s worked really hard with our athlete leadership program and developing her story and talking about all of her training and competing with Special Olympics and I’ve really seen her grow over the years. We really wanted somebody very strong from the Capital Region to represent us and there’s going to be a few other athletes involved with the Capital Region as well,” said Jennifer Frame, Director of Development, Special Olympics of New York of the Capital Region.

“I’m a little nervous about speaking in front of a thousand people, but I have one of my best friends coming to help me and support me,” Ritzenberg said.

Approximately 1,700 athletes and coaches will be taking part in the summer games this year. They will be filling the chairs at the opening ceremonies, including 400 local athletes. The organizers from Special Olympics New York encourage people from the Capital Region to come fill the stands as fans and show their support.

The opening ceremonies kick off at 8 p.m., but preparations were already getting underway early Friday morning.

“We’ll have our athletes and coaches come in with their delegations for the parade of athletes, we’ll have local entertainment, local dignitaries, the lighting of the cauldron to declare the games open with the law enforcement torch run. We’ll also have fireworks and a fly over,” said Renee Snyder, Vice President of Development & Public Awareness.

The events are free and open to the public and they’re always looking for volunteers.

“This is our pageantry this is us introducing our athletes to the capital region and the Capital Region coming out to meet our athletes and it’s super important to make that connection at opening, because it just makes for an awesome day the next day,” said Stacy Eder, Director of Volunteer Management & State Games Project Manager for Special Olympics New York.

Read below for further details on the event (per press release):

The Special Olympics New York, State Summer Games will take place June 16 – 18 in various venues throughout the Capital Region. Over 1,500 athletes and coaches will travel to Siena College from across the state to participate in the annual competition. All events are free and open to the public.

 Opening Ceremonies will feature a special memorial service for fallen State Trooper Timothy Pratt, a longtime supporter of Special Olympics New York. The ceremonies will also feature the customary parade of athletes, a flyover by New York State Police, speakers, entertainment, and members of the law enforcement community carrying the Flame of Hope. The Flame of Hope will light the official cauldron and declare the 2017 State Summer Games open. The Opening Ceremonies will be emceed by Marisa Jacques, Sports Director at Spectrum News Albany.

The State Summer Games is one of two annual state level competitions and over 5,000 statewide competitive experiences held each year throughout New York.  Athletes train for a minimum of eight weeks in their hometowns then compete locally and regionally to qualify for the State Games. 

Opening ceremonies

Friday, June 16, 8 p.m.

Siena College Athletic Field


Athletic competition

Saturday, June 17, 8:00 a.m.-5 p.m.

Various venues

Full schedule below


Closing ceremonies and victory dance

Saturday, June 17, 7:45pm

Siena College, Callanan field house


Athletic competition schedule:

 8:00am – 4:30pm


Hudson Valley Community College


8:00am – 3:30pm


Siena College: Marcelle Athletic Complex


8:15am – 5:00pm


Siena College: Marcelle Athletic Complex


8:30am – 4:00pm


University at Albany and The Sage Colleges


9:00am – 2pm


Spare Time Lanes


 9:00am – 4:00pm


Hudson Valley Community College


 11:00am – 4:30pm


Siena College: Marcelle Athletic Complex


1:00pm – 3:30pm


World Class Gymnastics Center


9:00am – 5:00pm

Olympic Village/Fan Station and Healthy Athletes

Lot W, Siena College


Event and volunteer information is available at   

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