Special Olympics coming May 6

Published 7:52 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Special Olympics were once a tradition in Decatur County.

With an idea to resurrect the event, a leadership team was formed by individuals from the community.

The team includes Paul Medley, Jim Beck, Ruby Barlow, Ken Bailey, Krystal Hiers, Pat Harrell, Catherine Gossett and Jimmie Hill.

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After completing the application process, Decatur County Special Olympics earned accreditation from Special Olympics Georgia for the year 2010-2011.

Part of the team’s vision is for Special Olympics to permanently remain in Decatur County focusing the first event on Decatur County School System students.

The leadership team states “Our mission is to provide year-round sport training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disability by giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

A one-day track and field Special Olympic event is scheduled for May 6, located at Bainbridge High School starting at 8:45 a.m. There will be 50 Special Olympic participants 8-22 years of age and 108 student and adult volunteers. Participants are eligible to advance to area, state, national and international events.

The local Decatur County Special Olympics leadership team is planning future events including Bowling Special Olympics in the fall of 2010 open to Decatur County students and adults of all ages with intellectual disabilities, and another track and field event for Decatur County students inclusive of all disabilities in the spring of 2011.

The May 6 event will have an opening ceremony featuring a torch run by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Anthem performed by the Bainbridge High School band.

The participants will recite the Special Olympics’ oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

The events include a 50-yard walk, 50-yard dash, 100-yard walk, 100-yard dash, softball throw, standing long jump and wheelchair race.

Ribbons will be provided for first through eighth places and all participants. Pepi is providing lunch for the participants and volunteers. The T-shirts for the participants and volunteers have been provided by a private citizen. There will be food, refreshments and T-shirts for sale at the event.

Wal-Mart is the corporate sponsor with several private individuals and businesses also supporting the event.

The Special Olympics philosophy is that through sport training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit mentally, socially and spiritually; families are strengthened; and the community-at-large, both through participation and observation, is united in understanding people with intellectual disability in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.

The “Spirit of Special Olympics” is skill, courage, sharing and joy, which incorporate universal values that transcend all boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion.

Come join us for a special treat!