Coverage of the 2011 Kentucky Special Olympics
June 5, 2011
RICHMOND - Before they take the field, Special Olympians take an oath, "Let me win. But, if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt."
There were lots of brave attempts and successful finishes, including some gold medals won by local teams as the annual Kentucky Special Olympic Games took place Saturday at Eastern Kentucky University's Tom Samuels Track.
The Madison County team "won a ton of medals," including a silver in flag football, said Erin Moore of the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department. "I think every member of our team won a medal in at least one event. I believe that's a first for us."
The team also won a gold and a silver in swimming, plus "all kinds of golds and silvers" in the track and field events.
Madison Central and Madison Southern each fielded its own team, with equally stellar results.
The Southern team, with five members, brought home two golds, two silvers and a bronze, said coordinator Lisa Johnson.
"It was a hot day," said Johnson, in her first year of coordinating the team, "but it was worth it to see our kid's wins and to see how much they enjoyed the event."
The eight-member Central team won two golds, two silvers and a bronze, said coordinator Audrey Hackworth.
The team was hopeful that David Fish, who finished first in the regional pentathlon, had medaled or perhaps won the state event. The places are determined by scores in five events and would not be announced until a dance scheduled for Saturday evening.
The day had been "rewarding" in many ways for all
involved, Hackworth said.
Members of the local and state medical communities also supported the athletes by providing free vision, hearing and dental screenings as well as foot exams.
"Those are all important for everybody, but especially
athletes," Moore said.
While there was excitement on the track, a festive atmosphere prevailed in the parking lot of Alumni Coliseum that was converted into "Olympic Town" for the day.
A group of Richmond churches had joined the Telford YMCA in providing free food, snacks and drinks for participants from a big pavilion.
Close by, Lee and Kim Murphy served up snow cones and pop corn on behalf of the Daniel Boone Chapter of the American Red Cross.
At the Madison County Board of Realtors' pavilion, Vonda Sipple and Amanda Stepp took and printed photos of athletes, who then visited the Richmond Kiwanis pavilion next door and created colorful frames for their photos.
The Girls Unlimited group of Madison Hills Christian Church
offered free face painting, while Richmond Parks and Recreation
lets athletes create heart-shaped sand-art pendants.
Members of the Kentucky law enforcement and military communities are among the Special Olympics greatest supporters.
Kentucky National Guard soldiers helped work every competitive event and law enforcement officers relayed the Olympic torch to Richmond for the games.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 624-6622.
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