Special Olympics Missouri athletes train for virtual 2020 Summer Games

Posted at 12:32 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 18:28:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Special Olympics Missouri athletes will get to put their training to the test this weekend, only this time, they'll do it from home.

Allen Tobin is one Kansas City, Missouri, athlete who has spent weeks preparing for the 2020 State Summer Games.

“It’s not like being able to be around my friends in person, but actually being able to compete would be the highlight," Tobin said.

On Saturday, athletes will compete from home in the organization's first-ever Virtual Summer Games.

Safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic pushed Special Olympics Missouri to an online format.

The virtual games will consist of nine events, different from those the athletes are used to competing in.

"What we did is we came up with a set few events, like a standing long jump, a wall sit, planking, just some fun events that don’t require a lot of equipment," said Tim Schuster, area director for Special Olympics Missouri.

Tobin told 41 Action News he will compete in the plank and wall sit.

“I think my longest time is a minute and a half," Tobin said.

Each year, Special Olympics Missouri hosts three events. Schuster told 41 Action News that the week Missouri mandated the stay-at-home order, basketball and bowling tournaments had to be canceled.

“Unfortunately for us, this would be our second big state event that we’ve had to alter, so to speak, or cancel," Schuster said.

Schuster said shortly after the stay-at-home order was put in place, staff began working hard to come up with a way to alter the Summer Games to prevent another cancellation.

“You know, they had already lost one, and we were trying to do whatever possible so they don’t lose another one," Schuster said.

On Saturday, athletes will compete by turning in their scores for all of their events. The results will be announced via Facebook Live on June 6.