CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Special Olympics of Southeast Missouri kicked off on Monday, May 3.
More than 15 agencies were present from 14 counties.
“It was an amazing day of my life and I loved it, it was good special sports,” said Job Smith from the Park hills School District, one of the many teams from 14 counties participating in Southeast Missouri Special Olympics.
“It feels great seeing other kids around here coming out having fun,” said Smith.
The athletes participated in track and field competitions such as running, jumping and throwing events.
Lily smith, an 11-year-old competitor said she likes the long jump and the softball throw.
The Special Olympics event was canceled last spring due to COVID-19, so the athletes were excited to compete this spring.
“I talked to a young man today and said he’s been practicing all winter due to COVID,” said Officer Richard Couch with the Cape Girardeau Police Department. “He’s had a little extra time to practice and he was super excited to be out here today.”
He wasn’t the only athlete preparing for this event for several weeks leading up to it.
“I retrained day-by-day ‘til I get better at it,” said Dallis Harris.
Officer Couch was one of the many volunteers.
He said the smiling faces are really what it’s all about.
“It’s a fantastic event,” he said. “We’ve done it for several years now and it’s just amazing to come out to see these athletes perform. It’s just something that’s really heartwarming, for sure.”
The athletes celebrated their victories by standing on a podium while the officers placed the medals around their necks.
“These young athletes deserve all of the opportunities in the world and it’s phenomenal to see them come out and put out such great effort,” said Officer Couch.