Special Olympics Illinois • A Tribute to Champions • Thursday, June 6, Special Olympics Illinois Tribute Park, Normal • Photos by Thom Rakestraw

Tribute to Champions was a kick-off event to the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games held at Illinois State University, which is one of the largest Special Olympics events in the world. Bringing together 4,000 athletes, 3,000 family members, 2,000 volunteers and 1,600 coaches, it’s an uplifting weekend.

Maggie Rutenbeck, program manager for Bloomington-based SOAR (Special Opportunities Available in Recreation) said, "As much hard work as it is, it's a re-energizing event because of everything that's involved, from the athletes and their spirit to the coaches and volunteers that are so upbeat with what they're trying to provide our athletes."

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