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Special Olympics in Valdosta

By: Monica Buchanan
By: Monica Buchanan

More than 200 special needs children in south Georgia showcased their athletic skills during the 20th Annual Special Olympic Spring Games.

After eight weeks of some intense practice, the special needs children were jumping for joy as organizers and fellow athletes kicked off south Georgia's Special Olympics.

Wes Taylor, Lowndes County High School Principal, says, "I'll tell you that as I saw our students in the hall the last couple of weeks, full of anticipation and excitement building up to this event, they've been just about to bust and couldn't wait for it to get here."

Darrell Henderson, competing in the volleyball event, says, "We've been practicing a lot. This dude Matt wears sunglasses; he's been teaching us every day."

It’s hard work and dedication that's resulted in some much deserved success for these Special Olympians.

Eddie Armstrong shares, "Me and my friend was playing in volleyball against those teams. We tried to beat them and we won!"

Organizers say Thursday’s event is a perfect opportunity for these kids to interact with some of their peers, and while they still have a smile on their face, they know it’s a true competition because some of the kids may end up in Atlanta.

Robert Yost, the Special Olympics organizer, says, "They have the opportunity to advance from local competition like this to state competition to national competition to world competition."

World Special Olympian or not, organizers say these children are heroes on the playing field and throughout the community.

Yost says, "With this population, it's important that we offer it. They can compete as well as anybody can."

Just ask some of them.

Darrell Henderson says, "We're going to win. We kick the other teams’ butt!"

Events included volleyball, long jump and softball throw. Organizers say more than 200 special needs athletes turned out for the event.


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