Harding University to host the 2021 Special Olympics Arkansas Summer Games

Harding University will host the 2021 Special Olympics Arkansas Summer Games June 24-26. This year’s theme is “Back at It,” and athletes will compete in various sports including powerlifting, swimming and tennis skills. All COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing and safety will be followed.

“We are thrilled to have Special Olympics back on our campus this summer after missing last year due to COVID,” vice president of advancement, Dr. Bryan Burks said. “We are inspired by the determination and courage of the athletes and the encouragement from all who come and cheer them on. This is such a great program, and we are honored to host this annual event.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics begins Monday, June 14, with officers carrying the Flame of Hope from all four corners of the state. The final leg is set to cover the last 50 miles to Searcy on Thursday, June 17th. Law enforcement and four athletes will participate in the final lap and the lighting of the cauldron at 6 p.m. at First Security Stadium on Harding’s campus.  

“We are so excited to be “Back at It” on Harding’s campus for our 2021 Summer Games,” Special Olympics Arkansas CEO, Terri Weir said. “This past year our athletes spent countless hours focusing on fitness and keeping their minds strong. We know they are ready to go. Words cannot describe how ready the volunteers and SOAR community are to see the athletes back in action.”

An opening ceremonies video will be sent to registered athletes, coaches, volunteers and sponsors to kick off the event. Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Arkansas will present awards in the recipients’ cities the following month. 

For a detailed schedule of events, visit specialolympicsarkansas.org or call 501-771-0222. Volunteers will be stationed on Burks Blvd. to welcome athletes and families as they arrive on campus Thursday and Friday, June 24-25. If you are interested in volunteering please fill out the 2021 interest form. For other Harding events and free and low cost services available to the public, visit harding.edu/community.  

About Special Olympics Arkansas

Special Olympics Arkansas is an organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sport every day around the state. Through programming in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics Arkansas is changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, solving the global injustice, isolation, intolerance and inactivity they face. Special Olympics Arkansas is providing opportunities for more than 15,000 athletes and 5,000 volunteers in all counties across the state of Arkansas. SpecialOlympicsArkansas.org

About Harding University

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy, Arkansas. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it is the largest private university in the state. Harding’s student body represents students from across the U.S. and more than 50 nations and territories. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors; more than 50 graduate and professional programs including master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees, graduate certificates and endorsements; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australasia, Peru, England, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit harding.edu.