Special Olympics features full schedule

Published 8:01 pm Friday, May 6, 2011

A SPECIAL OLYMPIAN, in the blue shirt, is being cheered on by volunteer coach Chase Harris. Organizers of the second annual event said the event was flawless and the participants had a great time.

Thursday’s second annual Decatur County Special Olympics Leadership Team’s Special Olympics competition for special Olympians in the Decatur County School System at the Bainbridge High School track featured a full schedule of events including two new ones.

Leadership team member Jim Beck talked about the popularity of the two new events, the Frisbee throw and the bean bag throw.

“They are wrapping up the Frisbee throw competition right now and all the competitors are really enjoying it,” Beck said Friday morning.

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They also had competition in the seven events everyone enjoyed so much last year, the 50-yard walk, the 50-yard dash, the 100-yard walk, the 100-yard dash, the softball throw, the standing long jump and the wheelchair race.

“We had 59 athletes and more than 90 volunteers and they all did an outstanding job.”

The Special Olympics day began with the playing of the national anthem by the Bainbridge High School Band and the marching of the teams around the track behind their banner bearers.

COMING IN WITH THE TORCH are Mayor Edward Reynolds, who is carrying it, and members of the Fraternal Order of Law Enforcement. The event was held at the Bainbridge High School track.

Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds, accompanied by the Fraternal Order of Law Enforcement, consisting of members of the Decatur County Sheriffs Department, the Bainbridge Public Safety Department and the Georgia State Patrol, led a torch run around the track.

At the conclusion of the run, Mayor Reynolds held the torch high and proclaimed the Special Olympic games open.

The Rev. Andy Glover, chaplain for Wiregrass Hospice, led the athletes in the Special Olympics pledge of “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

The Rev. Paul Medley, pastor of Bainbridge First Baptist Church and chairman of the Leadership Team, said he thought everything went great.

“We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day and the athletes and volunteers all performed well,” Medley said.

Catherine Gossett, Decatur County School System director of special education, said the comments she and her teachers heard from the athletes were heart-warming.

“After the competition, a teacher asked a student what his favorite part of the day was,” director Gossett said. “Everything.” he replied.

“Look at all those blue and red lights,” another student replied as he saw the police escorting the team buses to the track.

“This is how important you are,” his teacher replied.