Minneapolis (KROC AM News) -  The 2020 Special Olympics summer games in Minnesota have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but there will be competition.

The announcement was made Monday:

“ After careful consideration, Special Olympics Minnesota has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Games, one of the organization’s biggest events of the year. The staff and board of Special Olympics Minnesota believe this is the responsible action to take in an effort to keep everyone in its community safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the organization hopes the spirit of Special Olympics Minnesota lives on through a virtual event. Athletes, coaches and even volunteers are invited to participate in the 2020 Virtual Summer Games.”

The Virtual Summer Games began Monday and is open to all Special Olympics athletes, coaches and Unified partners. The organization says “this is a safe way for athletes to compete against their friends and peers from across the state. Athletes will train, compete and submit their results from home and come together virtually to celebrate their accomplishments as Special Olympics Minnesota broadcasts their results on Wednesday, May 27 on social media.”

“While canceling our events is truly disappointing for our athletes, volunteers, family, friends and staff, we know that our love for sport does not compare to the importance of protecting the health of our athletes and the entire Special Olympics Minnesota community,” said Dave Dorn, President and CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. “This decision is necessary for the safety of our community as we all take steps to fight this global pandemic together.”

The public is invited to volunteer for the Virtual Summer Games by signing up to watch the Virtual Summer Games celebration video and leave positive comments of encouragement! To learn more, visit somn.org/volunteer.

While the Special Olympics Minnesota community cannot be together physically, connecting socially is important. Along with the Virtual Summer Games, Special Olympics Minnesota is offering other activities designed to connect its community during this time until everyone can be together again. See more of these activities here.