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'It’s a huge benefit': St. Thomas Sports Spectacular to help local Special Olympics

Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Jordan Romano signs a hat for a local Special Olympian while in St. Thomas, Ont. for the St. Thomas Sports Spectacular on January 18, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London) Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Jordan Romano signs a hat for a local Special Olympian while in St. Thomas, Ont. for the St. Thomas Sports Spectacular on January 18, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)
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Superstars from across the major sports are coming to St. Thomas, Ont. in January help raise money for local Special Olympic athletes.

Headlining this year’s head table is two-time Olympic Ice Dance Gold Medallist Scott Moir, along with former NFL running backs Jamaal Charles, Fred Jackson and three-time NHL all-star Shayne Corson.

They will be joined by WWE Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware, MLB pitcher Jay Jackson, Olympic bronze medalist Erika Polidori, and emcee Mike Wilner with more celebrities to be announced.

Comedian and magician David Merry will wrap up the night.

“There is so many things about this event I love,” says Mike Wilner, Toronto Blue Jays beat reporter for the Toronto Star who has been emcee since 2015.

“A lot of it has to do with the athletes of the year that we introduce, and they get to do their speeches. It’s a great chance for people to meet these incredible sports superstars and you get to hang out with them. That time before the event when the hall is open, and everyone is there talking to the athletes, that’s something I don’t know there is anywhere else in the world.”

NHL Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour (left) poses with a fan during the the St. Thomas Sports Spectacular on January 19, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)It’s been 45 years since Father Pat Costello first had the idea of inviting celebrities to the community. Overall the St. Thomas Sports Spectacular has raised more than $750,000 for a variety of projects.

“We get new uniforms, get to go to tournaments, and it’s a huge benefit,” said Rahim Jamani, a St. Thomas Special Olympian.

The evening includes meeting and autograph availability from the stars, a silent auction and live auction.

“The important thing is that the money reaches people who need the money, and it stays local,” said Gary Clarke, the event’s chairperson.

Tickets go on sale Dec. 1 for the event on Jan. 18, 2024. 

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