Purity of sport lives on in Special Olympics

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If ever there was a reason to celebrate athletic conquest, it was there for the taking Wednesday at Rocket Stadium.

Nearly 50 Special Olympics athletes from across Person County took part in the Spring Games. There were no world records set. There were no million-dollar endorsement contracts on the line.

There was simply sport for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Kay Rudd, with the Person County Arts, Parks and Recreation Department, along with her army of volunteers organized a great event that gave these remarkable athletes their moment in the sun. Yes, there were medals given. Yes, there was pride and excitement at the end of every closely-contested event.

But in this athletic endeavor, even those who didn’t medal were great sports. After all, the Spring Games are not about winning and losing. They are about trying.

Too many of us fail to take advantage of opportunities put before us because we fear the embarrassment and rejection of failure. But Special Olympics athletes are winners from the moment they step onto the field of play. You can be sure they don’t feel the same kind of pressure that we feel and there is no sense of doom and gloom when their best efforts fall short of the podium.

The Person County community works hard to respect the needs of its most vulnerable populations. Senior citizens enjoy the opportunities provided by the county at the Senior Center, including their own version of the Olympics in the Senior Games.

Events like the Special Olympics serve another important, but vulnerable population: those with developmental disabilities.

We should be proud of the way our community supports those folks. It creates a real lifelong highlight for them and it lets others know Person County willingly supports every segment of our community.

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