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The Milton Measure

Milton Welcomes Annual Special Olympics Event

by Dylan Hickey on Friday, June 9th, 2017

Milton Academy hosted the Track and Field Special Olympics event for Massachusetts on Sunday, May 21st. Over 750 Special Olympians and 250 coaches from across Massachusetts, both men and women, participated in the 49th annual qualifying event. The objective of the Special Olympians was to make the summer games. The Special Olympics are a compilation of athletic events designed for participants who are differently abled than traditional athletes. The games have operated in Massachusetts since 1968 and were founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy. She advocated for people with disabilities and championed equal opportunity and access for all. The organization’s mission is “to provide year round sports training and athletic competition…for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.”

True to past form, the event at Milton commenced with an opening ceremony in the morning and then quickly moved into the competitions. The various contests included the 300 meter run and walk, the 100 meter dash, and the 4 x 100 meter relay, similar to any other traditional track and field meet. Later in the day, there was also a pentathlon, consisting of five events: the 100m, the long jump, the shot put, the high jump, and the 400m.

Registration took place in the morning. Team and individual events were then scheduled throughout the day. The athletes were separated occasionally by gender and heat if there were too many people in any one event. For example, in the female softball throwing event, there were 101 athletes competing, and they were separated into 27 heats. Awards were presented on a rolling basis after every event. Overall, the event was well run and very similar to any traditional track and field meet. Tents served as shelter from the weather, and plenty of food was available for all the participants and volunteers.

In typical MA spirit, a number of students volunteered to help out the athletes at this year’s event. The Milton Community Engagement program spearheaded the effort. When asked what his favorite part of the day was, one volunteer said, “There is nothing in the world that makes me happier than putting smiles on the faces of others.” He noted that, “the Special Olympics is just a day of smiles.”

Most of the volunteers interviewed mentioned that the athletes set aside their disabilities and rose to the athletic challenges of the day. Another volunteer stated, “this day of people coming together for one common goal just makes everyone happy. These Special Olympians’ greatest wish is to be treated the same as people who aren’t disadvantaged. Win or lose, nobody cares about the result, but the athletes are just happy to be playing outside and competing.”

Many other members of the Milton community were in attendance on Sunday as well — the FLIK team, Mr. Bland, Campus Safety, Milton athletic coaches, and, of course, the many volunteers who came to help and support the athletes. With all of these people helping out, as well as some supervisors from the Official Special Olympics Organization, Milton Academy was able to pull off another very successful spring Special Olympics.

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Posted by Dylan Hickey on Jun 9 2017. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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