Transforming lives through the joy of sport

Special Olympian Gracey Calvert and Blount County Schools Superintendent Rodney Green -Facebook

Special Olympian Gracey Calvert and Blount County Schools Superintendent Rodney Green -Facebook

This year’s Blount County Special Olympics competition is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 15, at the Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center.

Putting on such an event is not an easy feat. Much effort goes into planning to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. Blount County central office special education coordinator Becky Brothers said, “This event is a group effort by a lot of people.”

Participants have to get physical evaluations from their doctors, the venue arrangements have to be worked out, volunteers have to be secured, and the participants train with their respective physical education coaches and special education teachers to prepare for competition.

With events such as the 50- and 100-meter run/walk, the softball/tennis ball throw, and the long jump, the participants compete against others within their age group, and they are usually paired to compete against others based on similar abilities.

First-, second-, and third-place ribbons are awarded for each event. All participants receive a participatory ribbon.

Sponsored by the Blount County Civitans, the Special Olympics is near and dear to their organization. In March, the Civitans held the “Green Feet 5K” on St. Patrick’s Day to raise funds for this worthy cause.

They raised approximately $4,000 in hopes of making this year’s event bigger and better.

Blount County Civitan president Richard Phillips said, “The Special Olympics is something our organization holds dear. When we discovered how little the event has budgeted for the day, we knew we had to step up and ensure it was well funded. Now, with the help of this community, we are able to offer participants more than just a few events, but a day full of fun and excitement that we hope will mean the world to them. They deserve the best day ever!”

Thanks to the Civitan club’s efforts, there will also be a special event area that will include a bubble zone, sensory area, egg toss, and face painting to keep the participants occupied between Olympic events.

Schools are encouraged to make posters and supportive signs to motivate the participants, and help make this day even more special.

Brothers said, “Everyone is welcome to come and cheer on the participants. It is such a fun-filled and rewarding day for everyone.”