What do you do between competitions if you’re a Special Olympian? One things for sure: Rest is not a part of the equation.
In fact, you might just find some of the contestants”shaking their bon bons”and belting out a Ricky Martin tune at the karaoke tent. A few feet away, others may be scoring big at the bingo tent, or relishing in soaking volunteers brave enough to get in the dunk tanks hot seat.
What ever the diversion, Special Olympic athletes are sure to find something to their liking at the Olympic Village one of the most popular spots during the Summer Games June 9-11 at WVU .
“We want the athletes to have fun while theyre here,”said Kathy Kerzak of Institutional Advancement, the Villages volunteer coordinator.”For some, this may be their only visit to WVU or outside their home communities. We want it to be a rewarding athletic competition, but also a memorable social experience.”
Approximately 20-35 Olympic Village activities are set up near the Shell Building and WVU Trackclose to most of the competition venues so that athletes dont have far to go.
Refreshment stands are sprinkled among venues such as a giant inflatable slide, double shot basketball, a craft tent and more.
“This year weve added some new games,”said volunteer Garth Lindley, noting that Frog Bog, Rain Gutter Regatta and the Bob Barker Golf Challenge are sure to be hits.
By far the most popular, though, is the entertainment tent. There you will find non-stop singing, dancing and ever present smiles.
“I think the volunteers have as much fun as the athletes,”said volunteer Sandy McIe, of the College of Creative Arts.
“We help the athletes select their music and, if they want, even stand up a sing with them. Last year, I had so much fun that I ended up with laryngitis, so I recruited some more help this year,”she quipped.
Fridays entertainment will be provided by Sweetheart Karaoke, complete with an Elvis impersonator from 2-3 p.m. On Saturday morning, Cadillac Jack will be back to entertain the crowd, and on Saturday afternoon, RGD Karaoke will be on hand. McIes company, B.A. Star Karaoke, will wind things up Sunday morning.
Country music tunes by Shania Twain and Garth Brooks are among the most frequently requested artists, McIe noted, but”the show is theres, so whatever the athletes want, we try to provide.”
She said all the karaoke companys donate their services.”Its the least we can do to give back some of the joy we receive from these very special athletes,”she said.
The venues are open from 2-5 p.m. Friday afternoon; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; and 8-11 a.m. Sunday.
It takes about 60 volunteers at all times to keep the Olympic Village running smoothly, Kerzak noted. To volunteer for the Summer Games, call 1-888-988-2269 or log on to WVUs web site,www.wvu.edu.