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.

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 years

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 yearsA child steps up to the counter to purchase his [more]

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meet

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meetThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club combined boys and [more]

Rivers named honorable mention All-American

Rivers named honorable mention All-AmericanCoastal Carolina senior outfielder Kieton Rivers was recognized as a [more]

Trio of Pelicans pitchers are midseason All-Stars

Trio of Pelicans pitchers are midseason All-StarsMyrtle Beach right-handed pitchers Javier Assad, Jesus Camargo and Paul [more]

Grand Strand rec athletes find passion for pickleball

Grand Strand rec athletes find passion for pickleballNearly 100 local recreational athletes put themselves in a real [more]

CCU football loses legend with retirement of Glenn

CCU football loses legend with retirement of GlennCoastal Carolina football chief of staff and director of football [more]

Chants' season ends with stinging defeat to Jackets

Chants' season ends with stinging defeat to JacketsCoastal Carolina baseball had its season come to an end [more]

Coastal wrangles Rattlers to stay alive in Regional

Coastal wrangles Rattlers to stay alive in RegionalThe Chanticleers took an early 3-0 lead and did not [more]

MB Track & Field Club shines at Club Challenge

MB Track & Field Club shines at Club ChallengeThe Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club welcomed 22 clubs [more]

Chants battered by Tigers, drop into losers bracket

Chants battered by Tigers,  drop into losers bracketCoastal Carolina baseball saw a 2-2 tie disappear in the [more]

Chiefs seeking sixth boys hoops coach in nine years

Chiefs seeking sixth boys hoops coach in nine yearsNorth Myrtle Beach is looking for a new boys basketball [more]

Grand Strand dominates state golf course rankings

Grand Strand dominates state golf course rankings Golfweek has unveiled its annual list of the “Best Courses [more]

Hemingway narrows his college wish list to five

Hemingway narrows his college wish list to fiveTonka Hemingway has played enough games with opposing offensive linemen. He’s [more]

Chants headed to Atlanta, face Auburn in first round

Chants headed to Atlanta, face Auburn in first roundCoastal Carolina baseball received the No. 3 seed in the [more]

Chants dig deep, defend Sun Belt championship

Chants dig deep, defend Sun Belt championshipCoastal Carolina outscored the Georgia Southern Eagles 9-1 over the [more]

Chants take doubleheader, reach Sun Belt title game

Chants take doubleheader, reach Sun Belt title gameThe Chanticleers scored nine runs over the first three innings [more]

Seahawks let state golf title slip from their grip

Seahawks let state golf title slip from their gripSports can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The full range [more]

Chants use walk-off home run to stay alive in Sun Belt

Chants use walk-off home run to stay alive in Sun BeltZach Biermann's third home run of the night with two [more]

Myrtle Beach's Doty heads to nation's top QB camp

Myrtle Beach's Doty heads to nation's top QB camp Luke Doty’s Myrtle Beach legacy already includes some gaudy numbers, [more]

CCU drops Sun Belt debut; faces elimination Thursday

CCU drops Sun Belt debut; faces elimination ThursdayCoastal Carolina baseball surrendered eight runs over the last three [more]

Chants win season finale; host Sun Belt tournament

Chants win season finale; host Sun Belt tournamentA two hour and five minute-lightning delay nor two Appalachian [more]

Clemson hammers Coastal with early offensive barrage

Clemson hammers Coastal with early offensive barrageSimilar to the two teams' first meeting back on March [more]

Seahawks claim state title in tribute to late coach

Seahawks claim state title in tribute to late coach John Ed Cahill queued up an old voicemail from his [more]

MB Track and Field Club makes big season debut

MB Track and Field Club makes big season debut The Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club welcomed 22 clubs [more]

MB golf team flying high, riding ties to state tourney

MB golf team flying high, riding ties to state tourneyThe Myrtle Beach High boys golf team is tying its [more]

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 years

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 yearsA child steps up to the counter to purchase his [more]

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meet

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meetThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club combined boys and [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach