SPECIAL OLYMPICS

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COLUMBIA - Special Olympics athlete Beth Brokamp said she couldn't be happier the Missouri State Summer Games are coming to her hometown in 2020.

"It's a happy day," Brokamp said.

The Special Olympics of Missouri hosted a ceremony Monday announcing Columbia will once again host the Missouri State Summer Games from June 5-7.

"We are so honored to host the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games here in Columbia beginning next year," director of City of Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Amy Schneider said.

Schneider said they're excited to welcome more than 1,700 athletes and coaches along with family and friends from across Missouri.

Brokamp has been involved in the Missouri Special Olympics for 30 years. She said the program has gifted her with so many things, but the most important to her is her self-confidence. 

"You feel good being yourself, when you wake up you feel happy and cheerful, Brokamp said."

She added her favorite sport in the Special Olympics is Bocce Ball. 

The Special Olympics State Summer Games feature sports ranging from volleyball, athletics (track and field), swimming, soccer, and power-lifting. 

"It's evolved into a program that's not just about the sport, it's about the whole person," Linda Brokamp, Beth's mother, said. 

She said it's been an uplifting and humbling experience being a part of the Special Olympics community. 

"It not only provides support for our athletes as a parent but also as parents it's that extended family," Linda Brokamp said. She added she is most thankful the Special Olympics program is an environment of acceptance and encouragement, "watching that is very important as a parent."

According to the press release, the event is expected to cost more than $200,000. Sponsorships will help underwrite the cost of the event and allow more opportunities for the athletes. 

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