Simplot Games making much-anticipated return, scheduled for Feb. 16-18 - East Idaho News

Simplot Games making much-anticipated return, scheduled for Feb. 16-18

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POCATELLO — Eastern Idaho’s biggest sporting event is back this year and just three weeks away.

The Simplot Games are set for Feb. 16 to Feb. 18 at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena and will host around 2,200 athletes from 19 states, Canada and Australia, according to a news release from the J.R. Simplot Company, the games’ primary sponsor.

Josh Jordan, the company’s spokesman, told the excitement level is high as the games return from a multi-year hiatus.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the games back again this year after the COVID-fueled hiatus,” he said. “While we recognized the need to pause these past two years, it helped us realize how important the Simplot Games are to our company, the Simplot family, and the track and field community in Idaho and beyond. It’s been too long, and we’re ready for another grand event.”

The games started in 1979 and have featured some of the world’s greatest athletes over the years. Among the many former competitors are 11-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix, two-Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser and three-time Paralympic medalist Hunter Woodhall.

In addition to competing against some of the best high school athletes in the country, participants will be able to visit with Olympic gold medalist Dick Fosbury, the games’ co-chair. Stacy Dragila, an ISU legend and Fosbury’s co-chair, will also attend.

“(Fosbury and Dragila will) be joined by several other famous Olympians at the games, but the real stars are the competitors,” Jordan said.

The Simplot Games is an open meet, meaning athletes do not need to meet any prerequisite qualifications. Athletes interested in competing can register at the Simplot Games website here.

Sponsors for the event are still being accepted here.

The event will also feature smaller events, like question and answer sessions, instructional seminars and keynote speeches. A complete schedule of those events and activities can be accessed here.

Due to current renovations being undertaken at Holt Arena, the south side of the arena will be inaccessible. Athletes, coaches and attendees are asked to use the north side entrance.

A schedule of the event’s competitions is available here.

“There are always surprises, with incredible performances and spirited competition from athletes,” Jordan said. “Much of the Simplot Games will be familiar to athletes and fans, but there are also a few changes.”