Dothan, AL - Hundreds of athletes from around the Wiregrass competed in the 37th Annual Special Olympics track and field games Wednesday at Dothan High School.
Gray skies and rain drops couldn’t keep the athletes off the track. Armed with raincoats and umbrellas, 250 athletes from Dothan, Houston, Dale, and Henry Counties competed in races, the softball throw, and motor activities.
By showing off their abilities, athletes like Suzie Fulcher are helping to break down any barriers.
“For most of their lives you have some that have been told you may not be able to run and participate in athletic events at school. Special Olympics provides that opportunity for them,” said Recreation Manager Angie Lowe.
An opportunity, Dothan High School student Alex Robinson took full advantage of in the 200 Meter Dash.
“My first time. I’m excited. I couldn’t wait to come out here today. So I’m glad I came in first place today,” said Robinson.
They handed out dozens of ribbons to the athletes, but for many the games are about much more than winning.
Dothan High School student Arelous Smith said, “Run, play, help the kids.”
“I like running 200 meter dash, but I try my best,” said Girard Middle School Student Keith Johnson.
Brandi Deese said, “Give each other high fives and team spirit.”
While these athletes are boosting each other’s spirits, they may not realize their boosting the spirit of the community as well.
Wednesday’s rain did cancel some of the races because of a wet track. Many of the schools will hold their own races later.
Winners can advance to the state Olympic games held in Troy.
It really takes a community-wide effort to make Special Olympics go off without a hitch.
There were at least one hundred volunteers at Dothan High School Wednesday.
Many were high school students from around the wiregrass.
There were also law enforcement and Dothan Fire and Rescue.
They helped as timers, handed out awards, served lunch and helped with clean up.
“It’s a very huge effort. We are so blessed. Several clubs from Dothan high school that help out. And I have had a lot of people from the community, Fort Rucker, that have called wanting to help out,” said Lowe.