Harvard Hosts Special Games
Top Disabled Athletes in State Will Compete This Weekend
Harvard will play host to the top disabled athletes in the state this weekend as it jointly hosts the Massachusetts Special Olympics with Boston University.
Track and field events, softball, tennis, swimming, roller skating, power lifting and volleyball will be held at Harvard, officials said. Bowling and gymnastics will be held at Boston University.
More than 2,000 athletes will be competing in the Games, and 1,200 volunteers will be required, Special Olympics spokesperson Karen K. Kalbacher said yesterday.
The Games will begin with a reception and opening ceremonies tonight at Boston University, Kalbacher said. The events will take place mostly in the athletic facilities across the river, with the volleyball competition held at Shad Hall at the Business School and the softball competition at the Boston Park and Recreation Fields.
Although the athletes will be housed at Boston University, more than 50 competition directors will be lodged in Quincy House during the competition, Kalbacher said. The Special Olympics contacted Harvard and Boston University about hosting the games after Boston College, the site of the games for the past two years, declined to host the games because of campus construction and renovations, Kalbacher said yesterday.
"We're very excited because the Harvard facilities are [excellent] and Harvard is great to work with," she said. "Hopefully the weather will cooperate."
Kalbacher said the Special Olympics wants to settle on a permanent site for the Games. "We would like to plan the games somewhat," she said. "[But] it is a lot to have the school put out the time and the energy and so forth."
Gregory J. Garber, assistant athletic director for operations, said Harvard has told the Special Olympics that it does not wish to host the Games again next year. "In all likelihood, sometimes down the line we will host them again, but not next year," Garber said. "We're trying to encourage the Special Olympics to develop some sort of rotating system."
He said a great deal of effort will go into the events tomorrow and Sunday. "I wouldn't characterize it as hectic--I feel they're very professional and very pleasant to deal with," Garber said.
"The main challenge is that we've never staged special events [of this type] on this campus," he said. "We will have to adjust."