Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 03, 2010

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

26th Annual Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged Commence

State Parks invites public to attend the free ceremonies

Twelve-hundred athletes will take part in The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, to take place at the Mitchell Athletics Complex in Uniondale, Long Island from June 3 through June 5.

"In these tough times, it is uplifting to see an event such as this assembling New Yorkers together to support these remarkable athletes," said Governor David A. Paterson. "This kind of spirit is exactly what I admire about the people of New York State. Each participant has my highest esteem for what they have accomplished and I wish them all the best."

The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, first held in 1985, was the first publicly sponsored event in the nation developed strictly for physically challenged athletes, and it remains one of very few of its kind. 2010 marks the 26th year of the games.

"All of the young athletes who participate deliver an inspirational effort on a daily basis to overcome their own challenges," New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash said. "During these Games, athletes play with immeasurable heart and spirit to display their talents. It is an honor to provide such a thrilling, stirring setting for the public and particularly, the family, friends and coaches who support them."

During the weekend-long event, The Games for the Physically Challenged provide an opportunity for young athletes to participate in and excel in a variety of competitions and activities including track, field and swimming. The program is designed to emphasize these athletes' abilities and help to develop their confidence. The success the athletes earn at the games encourages an interest in sports and physical activities that lasts a lifetime.

The Games are open free of charge to all physically challenged youths who are New York State residents. Events are open with no qualifying competition or previous experience required. Athletes receive a Games uniform, medals and more.

These events offer physically challenged children opportunities to participate in sports and recreational activities which are adapted to best suit their unique abilities. The participants consist of some 1,200 young athletes between ages 5 and 21 years old who are physically disabled, visually impaired, or blind, hearing impaired or deaf, and those with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries or Les Autres, which include arthritis and muscular dystrophy.

The Opening Ceremony takes place on Thursday evening, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. A parade of athletes kicks off the ceremony, followed by music, honor guard by the New York State Park Police, and the official torch to open the Games. Competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and will continue throughout the two days at Mitchell Athletic Complex in Uniondale, Long Island. The games are open and free of charge to the public.

The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged are administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is co-sponsored by Nassau County, Nassau County Community College, Nassau University Medical Center, Nassau County of Health, Long Island Medical Reserve Corps, NYAC Athletes Fund, Metropolitan Transit Authority, King Kullen Supermarkets, Transport Workers Union of America, Futures and Options for Kids and the legal counsel firm, Holmes, Schwartz and Gordon.

The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged is one of four Empire State Games programs administered by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The other Empire State Games programs include The Senior Games, June 8-13, in Cortland, The Summer Games, July 21-25, in Buffalo and The Winter Games, next February 25-27, in Lake Placid.

Additional information on all Empire State Games programming can be found on the Games' website at: