SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Syracuse just got cooler! The 2023 State Winter Games came back for the second year this past weekend on February 24 and 25!

Nearly 500 Special Olympics New York athletes and coaches from throughout the state came to the area for the Games.

The following sports were hosted at area venues:

  • Alpine skiing
  • Cross county skiing
  • Figure skating
  • Floor hockey
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoe

The Games were thrilling and exciting, but it wasn’t possible without volunteers.

“My teammates and I can’t wait for State Winter Games,” said Athlete James Jewett, 38, of Chittenango, who competed in snowshoeing. “The competition is always fierce at this level, and we always look forward to seeing our fellow athletes from throughout the state. Please come and volunteer. Thank you, Syracuse!”

Local officials, Special Olympics New York leaders and athletes looked for 300 volunteers to support the event back in January.

“It’s great to be back in Syracuse, where competitive sports are a way of life and the community so clearly values the contributions of people with all abilities,” said President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “Join us for State Winter Games and you’ll see why Special Olympics New York has a near 100 percent return rate of volunteers. Our athletes, coaches and fans have a magical way of bringing communities together.”

All Special Olympics New York programs, including the State Winter Games, are free to the athletes or their families. It is also free for spectators to watch.

“I am thrilled that the Special Olympics New York State Winter Games will be back in Syracuse February 24 and 25,” said Senator John W. Mannion. “We are a community that believes in excellence and inclusion, and we are ready to step up and make these games the best ever. I urge all Central New Yorkers to join me in supporting these games by volunteering and coming out to support these incredible athletes.”

The Games will also return to Onondaga County next year in February 2024.

“Onondaga County is proud to partner, once again, with our friends at Special Olympics New York. Nearly 500 of the best athletes, along with their friends and family, will compete in what will surely be the best Winter Games yet!” said Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, II.  “I encourage our community to come out and support these amazing athletes and I wish all of them the best of luck.”

The presenting sponsor of the Games is Onondaga County and the Maguire Foundation is the sponsor for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

“I’m thrilled and honored that our community-based foundation, The Maguire Foundation, will be a proud sponsor of the 2023 Special Olympics New York Winter Games—and its mission toward inclusion, unity, acceptance, empowerment, dignity, pride … and fun!” said Frank Vanderpool, Chief Operations Officer of the Maguire Automotive Group and Committee Member of the Maguire Foundation. “We cannot wait for this year’s competition and want to wish all the athletes the best of luck!”

The following venues hosted events for the State Winter Games:

  • The Oncenter: Floor hockey and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies
  • Highland Forest: Cross-country skiing
  • Greek Peak Ski Resort: Alpine skiing and snowboarding
  • Thornden Park: Snowshoe
  • Upstate Medical Arena at Oncenter War Memorial: Figure skating