Special Olympians compete in Jim Thorpe
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Special Olympians received their awards on a podium located in front of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope.
The Jim Thorpe Area High School stadium was the setting for the Special Olympics in which athletes competed in a wide variety of track and field events that were appropriate to the age and disability level of each individual.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disability.
It gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.
The eager Olympians put everything they had into their competition which was held during the recent Jim Thorpe Birthday Celebration Weekend.
Athletes, coaches, fans, volunteers, and guests were treated again this year to transportation to witness the memorial services at the Jim Thorpe Mausoleum by Getz Transportation and were promptly returned in time for the Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies at the high school stadium.
The Jim Thorpe Memorial Torch runners were escorted by the Jim Thorpe Police Department into the stadium where Carbon County Special Olympian Dale Lloyd was selected this year to join the Torch Run around the track before lighting the Special Olympics Flame of Hope.
Sixty nine heats covering eight events netted Special Olympics athletes from Carbon, Columbia-Montour, and Luzerne Counties 139 medals and ribbons during the competition.
The master of ceremonies for most of the event was Dave Rodrigues, Competition Coordinator for Special Olympics of Carbon County. He was assisted by a number of coaches, officials, and volunteer assistants without whose time and help, the competition would not have been possible.
VIPs that participated in the event were Donna Parsons who sang the National Anthem as well as a prepared song to inspire the athletes, Don Wild Eagle and Family, the reigning Carbon County Fair Queen Kristy Rodgers, Jim Thorpe Track & Field Head Coach Frank Miller, and Jim Thorpe Mascot Herc.
Athletes had competed in Eastern Pennsylvania Spring Sectionals at Kutztown University just two weeks prior to the local competition where many "Personal Best" performances highlighted the day long competition.
Qualifying athletes from all of Pennsylvania will complete the season on June 10, 11, and 12 during Summer Games competition at Penn State University.