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Prudential Center to host N.J. Special Olympics opening ceremony

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The Newark-based Prudential Center in June will host the opening ceremony for the 2014 Special Olympics, a national gathering that will draw thousands to New Jersey during a week’s worth of events and competitions.

The ceremony will take place June 15 to help recognize nearly 3,500 Special Olympics athletes and others involved with the 2014 USA Games, the organization and the arena formally announced Wednesday. That will give way to a series of events that organizers estimate will generate $116.5 million in revenue to the region.

The USA Games will celebrate the popular Special Olympics movement, which aims to showcase the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities through 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports. The event, which is held every four years, has drawn broad support from New Jersey’s corporate community as it comes to the state for the first time.

It’s also projected to include 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and 70,000 family members, friends and spectators, many of them from around the country, the news release said. The events will take place from June 14 to 21 at venues such as Princeton University, Rider University and the College of New Jersey.

Previous Special Olympics games were held in Iowa in 2006 and Nebraska in 2010.

The event at the Prudential Center will include the recitation of the athlete oath and the lighting of the Special Olympics cauldron, the news release said. In addition, the arena is hosting local Special Olympics athletes during Saturday’s New Jersey Devils game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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