9 teams, 230 athletes compete in Pine Tree Special Olympics event

Nine teams and over 230 athletes gathered in one East Texas city for a Special Olympics competition Saturday.
Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 5:16 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Gold, silver, and bronze medals were up for grabs in a track and field competition for some special East Texas athletes.

The East Texas area Special Olympics were held in Longview Saturday.

Nine teams and over 230 athletes gathered at Pine Tree Stadium for a Special Olympics competition.

“Lots of these athletes, they practice for months and weeks, so this is their time to shine,” said organizer Gretchen Reeves. “They get to come out and practice what they’ve been doing against other delegations, other teams.”

Numerous track and field events were held for teams from across East Texas.

“All athletes can do two running events and one field event,” Reeves said.

For the athletes, it was a day to be just like anybody else. A chance to compete and a chance to win.

For kids and adults with physical and mental challenges, there aren’t many opportunities like this. Athlete Catherine Young is also an ambassador for Special Olympics.

“You get to cheer on your teammates. You get to cheer on the other athletes here,” Young said. “Watch them get an award and stuff no matter what place they come in. They’re always so happy.”

Cheered on by their families, the athletes got to feel the thrill of stepping up to the podium and receiving a medal for their efforts.

“Lots of times in school, these are the athletes that don’t always get medals and things. This is the best place to be today,” Reeves said.

The athletes will now have the opportunity to move on and compete in state and even national Special Olympics competitions.

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