Albany celebrates Special Olympics opening ceremony - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany celebrates Special Olympics opening ceremony

October 6, 2006

Albany --  Albany warmly welcomed more than a thousand special atheletes to town tonight. The Special Olympics State Fall Games officially kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Civic Center.

The event gives these athletes such a sense of accomplishment.

The Fall Games give special olympians, like ten-year-old Victor White a chance to enjoy life at its best.

"We're gonna have a lot of fun," said Victor White.

White had a heart transplant eight years ago, but is healthy and happy these days. He traveled from Columbus with his team to take on competitors from across the state.

The fall games give these special olympians a reason to cheer. Just like the real olympics, the opening cermony includes a torch run and parade of teams.

It lets the special atheletes know they belong at the games.

"I think it's a great experience for all of us to be able to cheer finally, not worry about people telling us we're special ed and all that," said Patrick Demick.

Coaches say the games postively affect the minds of the participants.

"It's a great opportunity for them to build up self-esteem, courage, joy, just the emotion that's involved," said Gwinnett County Coach Jeff Jansma.

Victor White says sharing his talents is a great feeling and being in Albany with his team is a special experience.

"How did you feel when you won? Proud and the other team was a little bit sad. I told them, you did your best," said White.

For the athletes, it's about doing their best in the games. Win or lose, the games give a feeling of accomplishment and for many it's a feeling they don't forget.

Organizers hope south Georgians will fill the stands to cheer on the athletes.

The venues include Chehaw, Darton College, Gordon Sports Complex, and the First Tee Golf Course.

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