Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The Area 15 Spring Special Olympics was hosted Thursday by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority. The Special Olympics, which have been going on since 1973, brings together special needs students for a diverse day of fun and friendly competition. After being rescheduled due to rainy weather, the event was a success, seeing 430 students and teachers from six counties participate in the games.
“Some of the events we offer is the 50- and 100-meter dash, four-person relay races, a softball throw competition, and developmental sports for the severe and profound,” said VLPRA Therapeutics chair Tammy Crosby. “We also had Olympic Town, a fun area where the participants could relax and enjoy bubbles, face painted, football tosses, bounce houses and other carnival type games.”
The event saw students from ages 6 to 21 and is open to any special needs student in the school system. Students competed for awards in multiple events and enjoyed lunch, sponsored by KFC and Coca Cola.
One student in particular, 20-year-old Cory Griffin from Valdosta High, was amped about the chance to compete and meet new people at the Olympics.
“I really like coming to participate. It’s fun and you get to meet new people,” said Griffin.
Griffin is a three-year participant of the Special Olympics and also a member of the Young Adults Club, a 16 and up program hosted by the VLPRA that offers social experiences and chances to compete in state Olympics throughout the year.
After spending three months practicing for this particular event, Griffin walked away with three awards for his efforts in the games.
“I got first place in the relay race and the softball throw, and I got second place in the 100-meter dash. Overall, I like to participate in the running events, basketball and volleyball,” added Griffin.
“I had fun today.”
In his spare time, Griffin is very active in sports. He enjoys football, basketball, soccer and overall, sports in general.
“My favorite team is the Patriots because I like Tom Brady. He can really throw,” said Griffin on his favorite NFL team. “I like the Miami Heat in basketball because I’m a fan of Lebron James. The faces that he makes when he dunks are really funny.”