Prince George will host the 2025 Special Olympics B.C. Summer Games.
Special Olympics BC president and CEO Dan Howe made the announcement at the closing ceremony of the 2023 Special Olympics B.C Winter Games in Kamloops on Monday night.
“Prince George was an outstanding host for the 1991 SOBC Winter Games and the 2001 SOBC Summer Games,” Howe said. “We’re thrilled to bring back our provincial summer games in this welcoming community that is well known for hosting high-quality sport events and for being the home of the strong year-round Special Olympics BC – Prince George programs.”
The event is expected to draw roughly 1,100 athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in 10 sports: 10-pin bowling, basketball, bocce, golf, rhythmic gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, swimming, and track and field. The athletes will compete in regional teams, supported by roughly 300 volunteer coaches and mission staff.
Andy Beesley, city director of civic facilities and events, told city council on Monday night that the event will be the first B.C. Special Olympics Summer Games since 2017, because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the games in 2021.
The games are expected to bring thousands of friends, family members and supporters to watch the games, he added.
“It’s going to be a wonderful event,” Beesley said. “The athletes are accommodated in school district buildings. (But) it’s up to 1,400 athletes (and coaches) and all their families – it’s a lot of people.”
Beesley said his department will be working directly with the games organizers, and will provide more information to city council and the community as the games approach.
“I know there are lots of Special Olympic athletes from Prince George,” Coun. Kyle Sampson said. “Now they get to have that excitement here in their home community. I’m looking forward to the volunteer opportunities, and we know Prince George always steps up and volunteers.”
The announcement is great news, Mayor Simon Yu said, and an opportunity for the city to work with the Advisory Committee on Accessibility to review the accessibility of the city’s sports facilities.