2023 Special Olympics brings Decatur County community together

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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On Friday, March 31 Bainbridge High School and the entire Decatur County community hosted the 15 annual Special Olympics. The 2023 Special Olympics turned out to be one of the most memorable ones in recent years thanks to the dozens of volunteers, new games and activities and community support throughout the entire day. From the entrance parade to the 50-yard dash, the Olympians had smiles on their faces all day and made the Decatur County community proud. 

The day started with a parade at 8:30a.m. as the Olympians filled buses at the Boat Basin and cruised down Shotwell Street as they headed for Bainbridge High School where the competitions were held in the gym for the first time. Not only did hosting the event in the gym allow for the Olympians to be more comfortable and stay cool from the heat, but it also allowed for new events and sensory stations. 

As the Olympians made their way to the Bainbridge High School gym, Bainbridge Middle School assistant principal and former wrestling coach Chad Smith kicked off the competition with opening introductions as the Bainbridge High School band performed the national anthem and senior Joshua Fillingame led the community in prayer. Shortly after, officers at Bainbridge High School lit the ceremonial flame to commence the start of competition. 

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Something that especially stood out in the 2023 Special Olympics was not only the turnout from the competitors, but the amount of volunteers from the community who came out and made the event possible. There were competitors from all ages ranging from first graders to high schoolers as the gym echoed with cheers, the dribbling of basketball and clapping of hands. At each station there were many youth volunteers from Bainbridge High School and Grace Christian Academy who were full of energy and smiles throughout the day. 

This year, the games included a 50-yard dash, basketball dribbling and shooting, long jump, cornhole, soccer penalty kicks, a face painting station and a sensory table where Olympians could build and construct items. The sensory stations were added this year and seemed to be enjoyed by a number of the competitors. 

The 2023 Special Olympics turned out to be another successful showcase that not only showcased the joy and prowess of each Olympian, but showed another example of how the Decatur County community can rally together for a great cause.