Special Olympics Delaware summer games return, athletes happy to be back
CAMDEN, Del. – It’s the 50th annual special Olympic summer games and over 350 athletes from across the state have gathered to compete after preparing for over a year. “They put in a lot of work, a lot of fitness a lot of agility to get prepared for this year’s summer games,” says Area Director and coach of Sussex RipTide, Robert Bailey.
Track and field, bocce, softball and tennis were just a few sporting events that took place on Saturday. After the Special Olympics summer games were cancelled last year due to the pandemic, coaches say the athletes had to back up and punt. However, we’re told the fans support is what really pushed the athletes to work harder. “The spectators cheer them on even more and that brings the best out in our athletes,” says Coach Bailey.
However, the day was more than just a competition, it was about the athletes and supporting their hard work in the face of adversity. “We’re about having inclusion and acceptance and understanding of people with intellectual disabilities and also their families and the rest of the community,” says Steve Cason, a Volunteer and board member for the Delaware Special Olympics.
We’re told, organizers, fans and family members are inspired by how adaptive and flexible the athletes have been especially when it comes to supporting one another. “So hopefully we all take that to heart and we do the same things in our own lives,” says Cason.
Coach Bailey tells 47 ABC, he couldn’t be more proud of how far his athletes and others have come to prepare for the day. “It’s not a matter if they win, as long as they do their best and try and they definitely gave it their best and I love them to death, these are my athletes,” says Coach Bailey.
Now those we spoke with say, even though athletes were excited for this year’s event, they’re even more excited to return to the University of Delaware next year for the full Special Olympics.
The next event will be the Special Olympics Delaware’s overnight camp held at Camp Barnes. We’re told the camp features opportunities for athletes to enjoy sports and traditional camp-type activities like swimming, arts and crafts, and archery.
If you want to volunteer with any special Olympics Delaware events, just head to their website for more information.