FORT JACKSON, SC -- The Fort Jackson community will have the opportunity to witness the true spirit of sportsmanship and athleticism this weekend as nearly 1,000 athletes from around the state travel here to vie for gold.

The 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment will host the 2010 South Carolina Special Olympics Games, which begin Friday night and run until Sunday.

The games begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Statehouse steps in Columbia with the 2010 State Law Enforcement Torch Run - "Capital to the Cauldron." About 100 police officers, emergency personnel and athletes will run 7 miles through downtown Columbia to the Solomon Center to light the "Flame of Hope" and launch the opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday the athletes will compete in one of six sports: aquatics, bowling, softball, track/field, gymnastics and cheerleading.

Bowling fans will be able to cheer on competitors at both Century Lanes and Ivy Lanes on post from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., while softball fans can head to the Hilton Softball Complex from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the softball competition.

The track and field competition will be held at Richland Northeast High School from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the gymnastics and cheerleading competitions will be held at All-Star Gymnastics in Columbia from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The aquatics competition will take place at the Jeep Rogers Family YMCA at Lake Carolina in Northeast Columbia from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Young Athlete Program will take place from 11 a.m. to noon at Olympic Village, which will be located in 3-13th company areas.

Athletes and their family members are invited to dine with Soldiers from the 3-13th Inf. Reg. at their dining facility from 4-7 p.m. Saturday. Closing ceremonies and a victory celebration begin at the Solomon Center at 7:30 p.m. Sunday morning, participants are welcome to join the 3-13th again for breakfast and worship services.

Volunteers are needed to facilitate competitions at all sporting venues throughout the games. If you would like to be a volunteer, contact Marilynn Bailey at 751-5444 (for Fort Jackson events) or the South Carolina Special Olympics Volunteer Coordinator Edwina Lassiter at 722-1555 ext. 305.

Page last updated Thu May 6th, 2010 at 10:34