Special Olympics produces smiles, awards all around

Lance Thompson’s daughter Savannah has competed in the Spring Special Olympics for the past 4 years. Savannah is a very recognizable figure around town, normally riding a motorized chair to scoot around the Beach Ball Classic. But, when her time to shine came in the 15 meter walk, it was as if someone had motorized her feet. That little girl can flat out run, running away with a first place ribbon and a huge smile.

“This is an opportunity for Savannah to get out and compete, and it’s amazing to see the kids and all the volunteers come out to help our kids” said Savannah’s father. “This is her 5th year in the Special Olympics and she starts talking about next year as soon as it’s over”

Opportunity was the key word during the Spring event held at Socastee High School in near perfect weather today. Close to 300 athletes competed with peers, while hundreds more cheered and connected with other families that were just like theirs.

Lisa Brown’s son Josh competed in several events and proudly wore his ribbons around his neck. She says “For Josh, he is so proud to compete. It doesn’t matter if he wins or loses, he’s part of a team. We have our family, but we have now become part of the Special Olympics family as well. This is something he can do with children just like him, and we’ve met families that are just like us, it’s really wonderful.”

Speaking of those volunteers, it takes 36 different organizations and classrooms to pull off such an event, and that’s not counting the schools that bring busloads of cheering sections, all to support and love on these athletes. Jennifer Ainsworth, an organizer for the event says “We prepare all year for this event. This gives our students with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to compete with their peers”.

Sandie Merriam, the Special Needs Science teacher at North Myrtle Beach Middle School says the kids have been excited about the event for weeks and “It gives them a chance to relax and enjoy a day of competition with their friends.”

The day certainly was about fun. In addition to the 4 events and multiple heats, the athletes also had the opportunity to play in a Fun Zone filled with inflatables and a DJ/Karaoke stage. Splash from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans distributed lots of hugs, Star Wars Storm Troopers posed for pictures, Ronald McDonald signed autographs, and Sharkee from Ripley’s Aquarium bounced around giving High Fives to the athletes. Michelle Legate from Ripley’s says “These are athletes that work year round, and we love to support them. We have a few employees that have family members that compete, so it brings it close to home for us.”

Kimberly Iannone was volunteering for the first time with a group that was formed at Bluegreen Resorts. “This has been awesome, it makes you appreciate what you have, and it makes you feel great to give back to others. I have a seven year old and this really touches my heart.”

Touching the heart, perhaps that was the theme of the day. Athletes with smiles on their faces, parents passionately talking about how important this was to their children and to their family, volunteers cheering loudly and then silently wiping away that little tear of joy in their eyes. A day at the Special Olympics provides a memory for so many involved, and today memories were certainly made.

Comments

comments

Runners pound pavement for Turkey Trot road races

Runners pound pavement for Turkey Trot road racesSixteen-year-old Rory Legg-Bell of Hillsborough, NC, was the first to [more]

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th point

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th pointDemario Beck scored 12 points and had 15 rebounds in [more]

Girls Hoops: CF rips net, Braves in Sand & Hoops

Girls Hoops: CF rips net, Braves in Sand & HoopsThe girls high school basketball season is only beginning, yet [more]

Saints step up to capture Bulldog Shootout crown

Saints step up to capture Bulldog Shootout crownThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team not [more]

Hoops: CF, Socastee, SJ win tournament openers

Hoops: CF, Socastee, SJ win tournament openersThe Carolina Forest High girls basketball team needed a little [more]

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16Martin Melchor scored two goals and had an assist while [more]

Beach United teams close fall season in Wilmington

Beach United teams close fall season in WilmingtonThe Beach United Football Club saw eight teams close out [more]

CAC swimmers dominate podium at regional meet

CAC swimmers dominate podium at regional meetPalmetto Aquatics (PALM) hosted the 2017 Thanksgiving Invite Meet on [more]

Coastal repeats as SBC champ, awaits NCAA foe

Coastal repeats as SBC champ, awaits NCAA foeThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team defeated #2 Texas State in [more]

Local hoops season tips off with two girls tourneys

Local hoops season tips off with two girls tourneysWinter might still be a month away, but the high [more]

Gamecocks net fifth place in Puerto Rico Tip-Off

Gamecocks net fifth place in Puerto Rico Tip-OffSouth Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin claimed his 100th [more]

Cuthbertson's career-high 31 points lead Chants' win

Cuthbertson's career-high 31 points lead Chants' winZac Cuthbertson torched the nets for 31 points in leading [more]

Chants handle Vandals, score first Sun Belt win

Chants handle Vandals, score first Sun Belt winIdaho scored on the opening possession of the game but [more]

Saints open season with wins, reach tourney final

Saints open season with wins, reach tourney finalThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team opened [more]

CCU men fall to Vermont; Lady Chants blast UNCW

CCU men fall to Vermont; Lady Chants blast UNCWZac Cuthbertson scored a game-high 23 points and had another [more]

Lady Chants spike Wolves, reach Sun Belt title game

Lady Chants spike Wolves, reach Sun Belt title gameThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team is making its second straight [more]

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in Conway

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in ConwaySouth Carolina's debut in the Puerto Rico Classic at the [more]

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teams

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teamsThe 2017 Beach Ball Classic announced its schedule for the [more]

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face Clemson

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face ClemsonFrantzdy Pierrot teamed up with Martin Melchor to give the [more]

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victory

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victoryThe Coastal Carolina football team (1-9, 0-6 Sun Belt) will [more]

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-Off

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-OffThe South Carolina men's basketball team has home court of [more]

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point losses

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point lossesJaylen Shaw scored 17 points, but it was not enough [more]

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seed

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seedThe Sun Belt Conference announced its final weekly volleyball awards [more]

Runners pound pavement for Turkey Trot road races

Runners pound pavement for Turkey Trot road racesSixteen-year-old Rory Legg-Bell of Hillsborough, NC, was the first to [more]

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th point

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th pointDemario Beck scored 12 points and had 15 rebounds in [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach