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Special Olympics Ontario’s 2024 Spring Games set to be hosted in Waterloo Region

Special Olympics Ontario set to host 2024 spring games in Waterloo Region. (Submitted: WRPS) Special Olympics Ontario set to host 2024 spring games in Waterloo Region. (Submitted: WRPS)

Next year, 750 athletes will be competing in Waterloo Region for the provincial Special Olympics Spring Games.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) hosted the announcement at headquarters Tuesday, saying the games will be held in the region come May of 2024.

“The games will showcase the incredible dedication and the talent of special Olympians from across Ontario, but also exemplify the commitment to serving and supporting others,” said WRPS Chief of Police Mark Crowell.

This will be the first Special Olympics games since they were postposed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Not only are those games coming up in May of 2024 going to be great games, they’re also going to be the largest Special Olympic provincial games we’ve ever hosted,” said Glenn MacDonell, president and CEO for Special Olympics Ontario.

Waterloo regional police estimate more than 2,500 athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and spectators will be coming to the region for the event.

“Games are all about the community and this community has embraced Special Olympics locally, regionally and now provincially again,” said MacDonnell.

The upcoming games, taking place on May 23 to 26, will see athletes compete in 10-pin bowling, basketball, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics and swimming.

“The spring games are not just a sporting event. They are a celebration of the tremendous talent, determination and courage of all the involved athletes,” said Chief Crowell.

“We encourage everyone to come out and support the amazing athletes and to get involved in any way that you can.”


Of the 750 athletes set to compete, 35 of them are from Waterloo Region, including Cooper Moore and Marley Gayler.

“Cooper Moore has been an athlete with Special Olympics Cambridge for over 10 years,” said Chief Crowell. “He currently swims, plays floor hockey … golfs, skis and power lifts. Cooper just graduated with distinction from the Rec and Leisure program at Conestoga College.”

Moore was in attendance at the announcement and voiced his excitement for the upcoming games.

“I was originally excited to go to the spring games in 2020,” he recalled. “Once COVID hit, it put a huge damper on things but now that COVID’s over, we want to get our butts out there and show what we are made of and we want to compete and go for gold!”

Gayler was also at WRPS headquarters for the announcement. She has been involved with the Special Olympics for over 14 years and recently competed in the World Summer Games in Berlin last year.

“Since I joined, I made a lot of friends and tried many sports. In 2020, the games got postponed and that was hard but now I’m super excited for May, having the provincial games in K-W, my hometown,” she said.

“It’s awesome! All my friends and family come and see me and we will have great competition from athletes all over Ontario.”

Gayler aspires to be the best power lifter and trains five days a week in different disciplines. She also works full-time at a Tim Hortons in Ayr. Top Stories

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