Missouri Special Olympics Set to Return to Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY - Special Olympics Missouri officials announced this morning they have awarded the City of Jefferson a four-year bid for the organization's annual Outdoor Games. 

The games, set to begin in 2014, will return to the capital city for the first time since 2007. Various venues such as Capitol Plaza, Adkins Stadium, Fields of Legends, Binder Park and Washington Park will host events ranging from golf to soccer to bocce ball. 

Special Olympics Missouri CEO and President Mark Musso said his organization is thrilled to return to Jefferson City. 

"Jeff City was a natural choice," Musso said. "The games management team here we've used in the past has some of the most talented volunteers in the state.  There are generous sponsors and tremendous volunteer support."

Officials expect more than 900 athletes, coaches and staff to participate in next year's games and anticipate needing between 300 and 500 volunteers. They also expect more than 1,200 spectators at the events.  

Capitol Plaza Hotel will be the host hotel for the event. Diane Gillespie, the Executive Director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, said officials estimate hotels in Jefferson City will sell about 1000 room nights during the three-day event. 

"When we went out and talked about putting the bid together to submit, when you said Special Olympics Games, everybody said they remembered when Jefferson City hosted the games back in 2007," Gillespie said. "They want them back. The community can become involved in this event." 

In 2014, Special Olympics Missouri will host two events, the October Outdoor Games and the Summer Games from May 30 to June 2 in Columbia.  In 2015, the organization will add another event, the State Indoor Games that Spring. 

The 2014 State Outdoor Games will run from October 3 through 5. 

This will be the last year the fall games will be hosted in Cape Girardeau.