Special Olympics Wisconsin holds first sports tournament since start of pandemic

This was the first event where the organization implemented their Return to Play plan.
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 3:54 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Special Olympics Wisconsin held their first sports tournament in six months Sunday, also making it the first event with the organizations new Return to Play plan.

The Southern State Golf Tournament was held at the Kestrel Ridge Golf Course, with 27 athletes and unified partners competing.

Athletes and best friends Jacob Zydowsky and David Hagens had been looking forward to the tournament for a long time after only being able to talk over the phone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization noted that the two are so close that Hagens asked Zydowsky’s mom, Anne, to be his caddie for the tournament.

Zydowsky earned gold during the tournament, but the two said winning was their last concern.

“It was just thrilling when they saw each other for the first time,” said Anne Zydowsky. “The smiles started and never ended.”

Special Olympics conducted extensive research and planning for months before the start of their tournament to balance safety with the overall well-being of their athletes.

This was the first event where the organization implemented their Return to Play plan, which gradually reintroduces fun activities where athletes can be safe and socially distant.

A new four-phased approach also limits the number of people at gatherings and requires strict sanitation protocols.

There was also a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday so that the participants and their supporters could celebrate their accomplishments safely.

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