Athletes from across the province are descending on the Forest City for the 2018 Ontario Summer Games.
The games start Thursday, Aug. 2 and run through to Sunday, Aug. 5, and will see athletes between the ages of 12 and 18 compete in what is likely their first multi-sport competition.
“We really want to make sure athletes experience the feeling of several sports competing under the same umbrella,” said Cheryl Finn, chair of the games for the city.
There are more than 3,500 participants, including athletes, coaches and officials. The athletes will be competing in 21 sporting events.
The only events on the docket Thursday are mountain biking at Boler Mountain and soccer at the North London Athletic Fields.
Those events will wrap up in the early evening as the opening ceremonies are set to start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at TD Waterhouse Stadium. The opening ceremonies, as well as all events over the next four days, are free to attend.
Finn said they want the athletes to experience as much of the games as possible.
“They’ll be able to take in all of the sports as long as it fits with their schedule. They’ll be passing them on the way to their own competition while walking through the campus at Western University.”
Events are taking place all over the city, but the bulk will be at Western University.
This isn’t the first time the city has hosted the Ontario Summer Games and it won’t be the last.
The last time the games were held in London was 2004, and they’ll be back in the Forest City in 2020.
“People really need to understand the uniqueness of London.”
“The uniqueness to host, house, feed 3,500 athletes, coaches and managers, but also the ability to put 21 sports in first-class facilities around the city.”
London has hosted the games four times and has been a hub for many other major sporting events for nearly two decades.
In 2001 the city hosted the Canada Summer Games, as well as the Ontario Winter games in 2005.
More recently London played host to the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games back in 2010.
For a full list of games and locations for this weekend’s events click here.