COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Special Olympics Ohio held its annual summer games in person for the first time since 2019 because of the pandemic.

More than 2,000 athletes from all across the state came to Columbus to compete, have fun and reconnect with old friends.

“We get to see old faces we haven’t seen in two years and have fun with each other,” said Shawnee Black, a Special Olympics Ohio athlete.

Excitement, and emotion, were the overwhelming emotions during Saturday’s competition.

“The spirit of competition is great, but I think our athletes also love that social aspect of what we provide,” said Jessica Stewart, CEO and president of Special Olympics Ohio.

It’s all made possible by administrators like Stewart and the hundreds of volunteers and coaches who give their all to the athletes.

“I mean this is the ultimate goal right? Our athletes is why we do what we do so we can provide this type of opportunity,” said Jen Henley, south regional director for Special Olympics Ohio.