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Special Athletes Celebrate the Glory
Father Michael Dolan, offering a prayer at the opening ceremonies, said, "Here we celebrate the glory of humanity as these athletes run, jump, swim, and shine in victory. It’s this diversity that lets us marvel at the great gift of giving.”
The games are the largest of the Special Olympics regional competitions held across the state, as evidenced by the parade of athletes through the Sports Center for the opening ceremonies. Teams from Hartford, Tolland, Windham, Middlesex, and New London counties were accompanied in the procession by a Hartford Police Honor Guard. East Hartford Mayor Tim Larson accompanied his town’s team.
Garett Argianas, weekend meteorologist at NBC 30, served as master of ceremonies. “I and everyone else are here to celebrate every athlete who is competing today,” he said.
The Bloomfield High School Concert Band, Jazz Band and Bloomfield Brass performed at the Ceremonies under the direction of university alumnus Joseph Olzacki. Theresa Rodriquez of South Windsor performed a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.
John Lobon, Special Olympics board member, thanked President Walter Harrison and the University of Hartford for opening its doors to the Special Olympics athletes.
“The University of Hartford is proud to partner with Weaver High School and the Watkinson School for this event,” said Harrison. “Three great institutions are coming together to welcome these athletes, supporters and families.”
Harrison thanked volunteers from all the institutions for their efforts. “I would like to thank the volunteers throughout the community who worked so hard to make the Games successful,” he said. “And special thanks to Fred Jenoure [university ombudsman and special assistant to the president] who headed up these efforts.”
Jim Van Hoof, Special Olympics chairman of the board, thanked the University of Hartford for hosting the games for the second year in a row, and thanked Banknorth Connecticut, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford Magazine, and Hartford Financial Services Group for their continued support and sponsorship of Special Olympics.