Special Olympians take the track

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 7:00 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Great Plains Special Olympics held their track and field meet allowing Kids from all around southwest Oklahoma to be an Olympic athlete for the day

“ They see other classmates participating in athletics and clubs and organizations all year long. This is a time that is just for them, it’s also a time for them to gain confidence in their abilities,”

Nadine hanefield has been involved with special Olympics for 16 years and she said the smiles on the athletes’ faces is the reason she keeps returning.

“ I get chills every year, every year there’s something that just makes me go oh my gosh this is why we do this, this is why we volunteer our time and spend time preparing and meetings, we do it for the kids, and we do it for the families,” Nadine said.

The athletes competed in everything from softball throws to partner runs with the local police.

LPD Public information officer, Chris Blessing says the event is much bigger than just running.

“ We’re building that bond with our community then B it’s also important because some of our police officers have special needs athletes that do participate in the games and we’re just a part of the community so it’s a win win situation for everybody involved,” Blessing said.

Blessing said having that support shows the unity within the community.

" The police are the people and the people are the police and without being part of the community we would fail doing our jobs and vice versa,” Blessing said.

The Ultimate goal is to acknowledge and praise kids with special needs.

" It’s a time to celebrate athletes who have different abilities and allow their families to come out and celebrate with them,” Nadine said.

Athletes who placed first through third will be eligible for state games taking place in Stillwater next month.