Athletes Shine at Special Olympics

Athletes Shine at Special Olympics
Posted on 11/03/2017
Ava Bachman

Athletes Shine at Special Olympics

Riley Hester

Staff Writer

The annual Special Olympic Games were held under sunny skies at Dickinson College Wednesday, October 25. Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Dickinson college hosts the first of several Special Olympic Games in the area. Featuring sporting events such as running/walking/wheelchair events, high jump, turbo javelin, and shotput, it allowed athletes to show off their talents to the community. Before the events start, every athlete at Special Olympics is paired with a buddy to  spend the day with. The buddies are there to cheer for the athletes, make sure they get to their events, and ensure they have  a great day.

“This was my first year being a buddy at Special Olympics and it was really fun. The happiness really is contagious at the games,” 10th grader Ava Cappelli said. “Seeing how happy my athlete was while competing really made me feel great. It’s a memorable experience for both the athletes and the buddies.”

At the beginning of the day, the athletes and buddies congregate on to the track and participate in their very own Olympic parade.

“One of my favorite parts about Special Olympics is walking around on the track in the beginning with your buddies. The athletes always have the biggest smiles on their faces as they wave to the crowd; you can tell how much it means to them,” senior buddy Lindsay Berra said.

During the day, athletes spend their time competing in a number of events. They also spend time together in the Olympic Village held outside of the track where they can dance, play games, draw, and even get their faces painted.

Some of the most anticipated events are the 50, 100, and 200 meter dashes on the track. Athletes await their time to shine as they race to the finish line.

“My favorite part of Special Olympics at Dickinson is running the 100 meter dash. I prepare for this event by running regularly,” returning athlete 16-year-old Ava Bachman said.

Many athletes enjoy Special Olympics, as it gives them the opportunity to show off their talents and abilities in a friendly, competitive setting. It also gives them a day to relax, have fun, and socialize with other athletes and buddies.

“I always look forward to Special Olympics at Dickinson College. I enjoy competing, hanging out, and missing a day of school!” Bachman said.

The Special Olympics organization also benefits the athletes by giving them a chance to boost their confidence, expose themselves to new activities, and meet friends.

“As a parent, I know my daughter derives many benefits from participating in Special Olympics. Since Ava was 8 years old, she has been a member of the swim team. Not only has she won dozens of medals, but is confident and excited to swim,” Mia Bachman, mother of Ava Bachman, said.  “In addition to confidence, Special Olympics has given Ava another peer group with which to socialize. Ava especially enjoys the day at Dickinson College because many of her typical friends volunteer and together enjoy a day of fun.”

The next step for qualifying athletes are the Special Olympic games at Messiah; participating in this event gives them the chance to advance even further to the games at Penn State.

“I know the athletes who advance will do great. The athletes from CV never fail to impress us. They always do great in such an inspiring setting,” Berra said.

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