The Opening Ceremony for the Special Olympics State Winter Games was held at the Town Toyota Center on March 3.

Special Olympics Washington provides year-round training for athletes with developmental disabilities who wish to compete in Winter and Spring competitions.

The last time Wenatchee hosted the Special Olympics was back in 2020, before the pandemic halted operations.

Over 1,400 athletes statewide gathered to compete in sports like figure skating, speed skating, alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, basketball, and cheerleading.

Ceremonies began at 7 p.m., with Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz and East Wenatchee Mayor Jerrilea Crawford welcoming the athletes.

2022 USA Games Athlete Grace Van Well from Wenatchee lit the cauldron with the “flame of hope” with help from Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Corporal and Chief of Patrol Seth Buhler.

Van Well represented Washington State at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida, earning several medals in the swimming category.

Grand Marshal and Retired Seahawks player Ray Roberts gave a motivating speech to the Olympic athletes.

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The cast of Shrek: The Musical also provided a musical performance for the crowd.

Training for the State Spring Games is set to begin on March 6, with competition starting on June 9.

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