NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Led by first-year head coach Dan Curran and recent alum and NFL linebacker Shawn Loiseau, the Merrimack football team participated in the annual Summer Games for the Special Olympics at Harvard University.
The Warriors participated as volunteers and helped coordinate the track & field events for the afternoon, and supported the inspiring efforts of all the Special Olympics athletes during the course of the weekend.
The annual Summer Games are the oldest and most traditional competition of the Special Olympics. Though the organization has grown, Special Olympics is recognized worldwide for its Olympic-style competition, introduced at the first international Summer Games in 1968. In Massachusetts, Summer Games first began in 1971.
The official start of the Special Olympics Massachusetts Summer Games began with the traditional Opening Ceremony at Boston University. Highlights included remarks from special guests, one of the athletes acting as master of ceremonies, the Parade of Athletes, the Special Olympics Massachusetts flag relay and presentation and finally the culminating Torch Lighting Ceremony, by the Guardians of the Flame comprised of partners in the Law Enforcement community.
On Saturday, the games began on the grounds of the Harvard University athletic facilities, surrounding historic Harvard Stadium. Over 2,000 athletes competed in the sports of aquatics, gymnastics, powerlifting, roller-skating, tennis, track & field and volleyball.
The weekend's events also included free health screenings, games and performances at Olympic Town, the Law Enforcement Cruiser convoy, and a street fair, followed by a dance at Boston University hosted by the Parrott Heads Club of Eastern Massachusetts.