“Superstars” return for Special Olympic Games in Richmond
For the 27th time, the Games returned to the campus of Eastern Kentucky University, bringing with it more than 900 athletes from across the state
RICHMOND, Ky (WTVQ)- Hundreds of athletes are in Richmond this weekend for the state’s Special Olympic Games.
“It just really makes me feel like a superstar,” said athlete and ambassador Katie Williams.
For the 27th time, the Games returned to the campus of Eastern Kentucky University, bringing with it more than 900 athletes from across the state.
“It gives our athletes, people with intellectual disabilities, which is how you qualify for Special Olympics, an opportunity to show the state and the communities in which they live how much people with intellectual disabilities can accomplish when opportunities are open to them,” said communications director Mark Buerger.
The games include an Olympic town and a healthy athletes village.
“And this year, we’re offering opening eyes vision screening,” said Buerger. “So our athletes can go get a free vision screening by trained professionals, and after that, if it shows that they need eye glasses, we’ll provide the eye glasses free of charge.”
There are several sports up for grabs, including track and field, swimming, bocce, and rhythmic gymnastics.
“Special Olympics means a tremendous amount to me,” said Williams. “I’m in my comfort zone when I’m in special Olympics.”
Williams has been competing for years, but don’t ask her her favorite sport just yet.
“That’s hard. A tie between track and field and basketball,” said Williams.
Athletes say the games are a way they can prove they can do anything they put their minds to.
“Even if I lose, it’s always fun,” said athlete Candace Helton. “There’s no judgement here. There’s not. You can be different here, you can be anything, there’s no difference.”
The Games will run through Saturday afternoon.