Brevard, N.C. - Over 29 athletes and more than 200 people were present at the track on the campus of Brevard College this past Saturday for the First Annual Special Olympics of Transylvania County. This project, coordinated by Dick and Pat Ream with help from Brandy Metcalf, was a success from the opening ceremonies as the Olympians took part in 12 track and field events and six wheelchair Olympians took part in three events.
During the opening ceremonies of the Games, all the special guests and local dignitaries were welcomed to the event as the athletes paraded around the track. An invocation by Reverend Mike Jordan and brief remarks by Mac McKeller, Jason Chappel, and the Brevard College head football coach Paul Hamilton, followed the parade. Special Olympian Scott Wolf gave the Special Olympics Oath, which states, “Let me win, but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Following the oath, Coach Hamilton declared the games open at 10:15 a.m.
With events ranging from the 25, 50 and 400 meter walks, a 400 meter run, standing and running long jumps and the softball throw, the athletes and their supporters kept moving throughout the day, stopping only for the occasional awards ceremony where all athletes who participated in an event received ribbons for their performances.
Members of the Tornados men’s and women’s basketball teams and the men’s and women’s track teams were present throughout the day, pairing up with the Olympians to provide support during the events and to help cheer them on as they competed.
Amanda Whitaker, a member of the women’s basketball team paired up with Dick and Pat’s son, Michael, had the following to say about the Olympics, “My experience was very uplifting and rewarding. It is something that can’t be put into words; you have to experience it to see how it really feels. I had the best time!” Teammate Amber Roberts also commented, saying, “I really enjoyed working at Special Olympics on Saturday. It was a great opportunity to help others and just have a lot of fun.”
The Special Olympics is open to all persons over the age of eight who have an intellectual or physical disability. The athletes train for the events, and then come to local meets to get times and distances to become ranked for the regional meet held later on in the month.
All of the athletes who competed in the Transylvania County Special Olympics are allowed to move on to the Regional meet which will be held in Buncombe County on April 18th where the athletes can move on to qualify for the State Olympics.
“This was my first time assisting with the Special Olympics and I was very impressed with the athlete’s capabilities. They get out there and have such a great time. It’s so nice to see the smiles on their faces and the freedom that they have,” Women’s Basketball Head Coach Shannon Reid had to say, “It was an honor and privilege to have them compete at Brevard College. I feel blessed for the opportunity to engage in such a rewarding experience!”
Dick Ream had the final words to say as the Olympics came to an end, “I personally have been involved in sports for 56 years from playing to coaching to officiating and this is by far the most fun.”
For more information about the Special Olympics, go to http://www.specialolympics.org/
2009 Special Olympics Photo Gallery