HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – This year the stands at Coastal Carolina University will be empty for the Special Olympics South Carolina State Fall Games.
SC Special Olympics announced the cancellation of the event last week that due to rising COVID-19 cases.
CCU has partnered with the state games for the last two years. This year the event would have brought in around 1,500 athletes, coaches and partners.
Horry County has 90 Special Olympian athletes who would have been competing this fall.
Area 16 Director, Lisa Brown, says contact sports and the event size would not have allowed for social distancing.
Group meals and hotel accommodations also factored in to the cancellation.
Athletes haven’t trained as a team since March, but are still working towards competing in future games.
“We do encourage them to workout at home, take walks, scavenger hunts, swim, bike ride, anything that they can do to stay active,” said Brown.
Special Olympian athlete, Brenda Purvis, started leading weekly virtual Zumba classes after spring games were canceled.
“As athletes we do try our best to try and keep us in good shape,” said Purvis.
Her workout videos have been viewed hundreds of times, but are now put on hold.
Purvis and her parents tested positive for COVID-19.
“I haven’t been doing it for three weeks, because I somehow caught the virus,” said Purvis.
While she’s missing her fellow athletes and the change to compete, Purvis says we all need to keep or distance.
But she looks forward to getting back online.
“Once I’m fully recovered I do want to keep going and see how many followers we can get,” said Purvis.
Summer fundraising events were also canceled due to the pandemic, which help support competitions and competing athletes.
To donate to future games follow this link and help support Horry County’s Area 16 chapter.