Big turnout for annual Special Olympics summer games

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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Close to 1,400 athletes competed in this year's Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer games.

The 44th annual event kicked off in Richmond on Friday, but the real action started on Saturday. Eastern Kentucky University played host for the 20th year.

Athletes competed in sports like track and field, flag football and bocce. 38 athletes and 16 coaches will go on to represent the state at the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey beginning June 14th.

Dozens of athletes and their families spent the day cheering on their loved ones.

"It's an opportunity to showcase our athletes abilities," says Trish Mazzoni, President & CEO. "They get to compete and they're staying physically active. So it's bringing the community together as one and it's helping to create a better understanding of persons with disabilities. We're all more alike than we are different."

Closing ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Coliseum parking lot. That will include the presentation of the pentathlon medals, fireworks and an athlete victory dance.

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