Special Olympics

Two very special Wiregrass athletes are getting the chance of a lifetime.
They'll compete in the Special Olympics World Games this summer in Ireland.

About 7,000 athletes from more than 160 countries will be competing in the games.

Twenty-year-old Brandi Deese and 14-year-old Zachary Grice have been chosen as just a select few exceptional athletes throughout the U.S. to compete as part of Team USA in the Special Olympic World Games in Ireland.

Since being selected, Brandi and Zachary have been training hard to prepare for the competition. That means swimming several times a week, as well as weightlifting and cardio workouts.

But their coach says the hard work doesn't faze them.

The cost of attending the World Games in Ireland is high.

But these two members of Team USA have gotten tremendous support from the community.

The Dothan Police Department and the Dothan Fire Department have held numerous fundraisers to help raise money for their trip.

A benefit will be held on May 31 to help Brandi and Zachary make their trip to Ireland.

More than ten local and regional bands will be performing all day at the Movie Gallery Amphitheater in Dothan's first rock-a-thon.

If you would like tickets, just drop by one of the six ticket locations in Dothan. Tickets will also be available at the gate the day of the event.

Rock-A-Thon Ticket Outlets

  • Rock 102.5
  • Dothan Instant Printing
  • Liverpool Records
  • Rental Service Corporation
  • Coleman Indian Motorcycles
  • Dakota Coffee

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    Special Olympics Facts

    • The Special Olympics is an international program of year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than one million children and adults with mental retardation.

    • Special Olympics began in 1968 when Eurnice Kennedy Shriver organized the First International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

    • Since 1968, millions of children and adults with mental retardation have participated in Special Olympics.

    • Special Olympics Chapters are established in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. About 25,000 communities in the United States have Special Olympics programs.

    • To be eligible to participate Special Olympics, you must be at least eight years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: mental retardation, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that require or have required specially-designed instruction.

    • With program offices around the world, Special Olympics conducts more than 16,000 competitions at the world, regional, state/national and local level for over 1 million athletes.

    Source: www.specialolympics.org contributed to this report