Special Olympics set for Thursday

Published 6:58 pm Monday, May 5, 2014

On Thursday morning, dozens of students will converge at Clanton City Park to compete for top honors in various track and field events during the 33rd annual Chilton County Special Olympics.

“This year’s event will be very similar to last year’s with both opening and closing ceremonies, plenty of fun activities for the kiddos and all of the normal athletic events,” event organizer Michelle Coppedge said. “We are very excited that, at this point, the forecast looks to be wonderful as well.”

Opening ceremonies will start at 9:30 a.m., and the first events will begin at about 10:15 a.m.

The events, which are open to special needs students ages 3–21 (preschool–12th grade), include softball throw, soccer, running long jump, standing long jump and wheelchair race.

“The events are held simultaneously and should all be completed around 11:30,” Coppedge said. “At that time, we will all gather back as a group and hold closing ceremonies.”

All students will receive first, second or third place in their events, plus a medal for participating in the closing ceremonies.

In addition, all students will receive a Special Olympics T-shirt free of charge, made possible by community donations.

“This event allows all students the ability to participate in athletic events and to be successful in their competitions,” Coppedge said. “For many parents of students with special needs, this is their only opportunity to see their children participate in athletic activities. Additionally, for many of the students, this is their chance to shine in areas where they are typically unable to compete.”

Along with the athletic events, inflatables, face painting, popcorn, snow cones, Wiffle ball and football will be available for students to enjoy.

The public is invited to attend.

“It is heartwarming and awe-inspiring to see the students compete with such determination and faithfulness despite all of the limitations they may have,” Coppedge said. “They are an encouragement and an inspiration to all who they come into contact with. There is nothing more precious than the faces of each and every student Olympian that I get to see on that day.”