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Going for the Gold

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September 22, 2006

Albany -- Two weeks from tonight, the 2006 special Olympics state fall games kick off in Albany.   Athletes are hard at work training for their events.   Mary Cox is a global messenger for the games, and she's also an Olympic winner. Last year, her team brought home a bronze metal, and she hopes to do even better this time.

Mary Cox, like all Olympians, has a strategy for winning the gold. "I've been exercising and resting it." Before beginning Bocce practice, she warms up her throwing arm. "I think I'm ready now."  

Practice makes perfect, and she'll be practicing four days a week until the Olympics. "That's not bad for the first try." A special skill Mary puts to use is measuring the distance of the ball, with a little eye trick. "See I have to measure and stuff with the angle, so I can get close enough down there, from long distances I can get closer."

Because the closer the bocce ball gets to the pallino, the little yellow ball, the better. "I'm getting closer, every time."

Since Mary didn't have anyone to compete against today, I stepped in as her practice partner. "It ain't that hard. Anybody can do it," she said.

But I had no idea what I was up against. "Gotcha a challenge now."

See, this was Mary's first shot. 

Although I didn't do too bad myself, but not good enough.

Mary may have let me play, but she most definitely did not break let me win. "I thought you might let me win since it's my first time playing."

"Uh-uh, show no mercy!"

Mary won three out of five games, taking home the gold. Which she hopes to do in a couple of weeks.  But the medal isn't what's most important to Mary. If you ask her why she wants you to come to the games, it isn't just to watch her. "To help support the other athletes. They need as much support as they can."

So that even athletes who don't win the gold, will know, they are still golden.

Another goal Mary has is getting her GED. About 700 volunteers have signed up to help during the Games which run October 6th through 8th. Another 300 are needed. Monetary donations are also needed.