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Joy of Inclusion: Special Olympics athletes share what the games mean to them

The 50th Special Olympics Summer Games are underway and this year’s theme is Joy of Inclusion. It’s that message athletes say they are excited to share with others.

Posted: Jun 8, 2019 7:06 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2019 7:26 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Athletes from all over the Hoosier state are in Terre Haute to compete this weekend.

The 50th Special Olympics Summer Games are underway and this year’s theme is Joy of Inclusion. It’s that message athletes say they are excited to share with others.

Alec Spaulding and his team represent a few of the many champions at the games. His team won the 4 by 4 100 meter race. Spaulding says being a part of the Special Olympics has allowed him to form incredible friendships.

"It is fun. We all have talent and we stick together and we just have fun with one another."

For the last 50 years, athletes have been able to compete in the sports they love and smile!

Some run. Others throw. But, everyone is included.

Some may even take home some hardware just like Michael Peterson. He's been participating in the Olympics for 14 years. He says these games show others people with disabilities can be super-fast and strong, too!

"I want people to realize there's people out there like us. I don't want people to pity us and I want people to realize that we're human as well."

That energy and positive attitude touches each person at the games.

Carla Knapp says she enjoys spending time with the athletes every year. She's a volunteer and has coached.

"Whenever you see athletes that are achieving their goals and we get to celebrate that, those kind of connections, those kinds of moments are the whole reason that I volunteer."

You can sheer on the athletes as the games continue this weekend. Events are happening on the Indiana State University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campuses.

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