The Special Olympic Games will take place beginning at 10 a.m. Friday in the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex.
The annual games provide opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities to develop physical fitness and demonstrate courage, said John Battle, Rocky Mount recreation services supervisor.
“We want you to come and embrace athletic competition for our people with disabilities,”he said. “Be a part of our special Olympic institution and tell these athletes, ‘good job.’”
The Special Olympic Games, sponsored by the city several other corporate and civic organizations, will feature competition on two levels: the high functioning level and the lower functioning level. The first level will include the 4X100, the 200-meter and the 100-meter. The second level will consist of the tennis ball throw, the 50-meter and the wheelchair races. First through eighth place winners will receive medals, but according to Battle, all participants are winners.
“The Special Olympic Games will give everyone a chance to socialize and show their competitive skills,” Battle said. “It’s also an opportunity for volunteers to go out and connect with the athletes.”
This connection is apparent for those volunteers in the Rocky Mount Nash Special Olympic Program, host for the Special Olympic Games and home to various sports for athletes with
disabilities, such as bowling, basketball, softball, aquatics, track and field, alpine skiing and bocce.
Volunteers in the program not only support these athletes during the Special Olympic Games but throughout the year, as the program extends from August to June.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a spectator at the Special Olympic Games and encouraging the nearly 300 participants or would like to join the 250 volunteers, should call the Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department at 252-972-1155.
“We need additional volunteers,” Battle said. “The closer we can get to one-on-one attention, the better.”