Valdosta hosts area's largest spring Special Olympics

By: Amber Spradley | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 10, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority hosted its largest-ever Youth and Adult Special Olympics Games Tuesday at Freedom Park.

More than 400 students and teachers from six neighboring counties showed up to participate in a variety of sports like softball, soccer and track.

Students competed on the Miracle League Field, which was built one year ago. It's made two-dimensional for athletes with disabilities to enjoy.

"This field is rubberized," VLPRA marketing director Jessica Catlett said. "It's specifically for individuals with disabilities so folks with wheelchairs, walkers, people that have a fall-risk, this field is specifically for them."

Catlett says the field is the largest in the country and the only one with so many different sports like softball and track lined on it. And this spring's Olympics event is the organization's largest one yet.

"Students look forward to it every year, and it's absolutely our pleasure and our honor to host it here," Catlett said.

Jessica Rhodes and her daughter Allea Christopher took to the brand new field last year and say they're happy to be back this time around.

"It's really nice to see all the kids out, interacting, getting to do sports like all the other children do, her peers. And she looks forward to it every year," Rhodes said.

Allea says her favorite part of the day is racing with her friends.

"I'm glad to be outside," Lowndes County High School student Joshua Rowell said.

More than 100 volunteers showed up for the games Tuesday to lend a hand.

"I am really enjoying the Special Olympics. This is something really great for the kids," Myra King, a paraprofessional at Pinevail Elementary School, said.

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