Local special olympians going to Nashville games

Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Melanie Carter displays her first place ribbon for the 25-meter wheelchair.

Westhills Elementary School has hosted qualifying events for local special olympians to compete in the track and field events at Vanderbilt University.

Physically and mentally handicapped children of Marshall County competed in wheelchair and foot races, bocce ball, the standing long jump, and other activities to help build their confidence and physical skills.

County Mayor Joe Liggett spoke at opening ceremonies and Patrick Moore, one of the many supporters of the program, ran with the "flame of hope" to get the day's events started.

Photos by Kristina Grossheim Charlotte Crane participates in the standing long jump.

The vision of the Special Olympics is to empower people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and develop their skills through training and competition.

The non-profit organization currently serves more than 2.25 million people with disabilities in 160 countries.

Participants of these events grow mentally, socially and spiritually through the activities, and exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, according to officials with the Special Olympics organization.

These qualities were exhibited at Westhills Elementary School. The children were excited to participate, and while some placed higher and will continue to Vanderbilt University, every child went home a winner.