Special Olympics competition held in Jim Thorpe
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The thrill of victory is enjoyed by Ireis Hubbert as she crosses the finish line, with her father Michael Hubbert, winning the Assisted Wheelchair Race during the Special Olympics of Carbon County in Jim Thorpe.
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.
Athletes from different participating counties in Pennsylvania : Carbon, Luzerne/Wilkes-Barre, and Columbia/Montour counties, participated in the events which were appropriately held in conjunction with the annual community celebration honoring Olympian Jim Thorpe on his birthday.
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.
Every Special Olympics Program includes sports events and activities that are appropriate to the age and disability level of each athlete, from motor activities to the most advanced competition.
The eager Olympians put everything they had into the heats and events which netted the Special Olympics athletes medals and ribbons during the competition.
While the winning athletes received the traditional medals for finishing in first, second, or third place, all athletes from fourth to last received a participant's ribbon for competing in an event.
Qualifying athletes from all of Pennsylvania will complete the season on June 6, 7, and 8 during he State Summer Games competition at Penn State University.
In attendance for the events was State Representative Doyle Heffley, 122nd District, who said "I think that this is a wonderful program, the athletes are doing a phenomenal job."
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.