Tech offers helping hand at Special Olympics

By Jon Cooper
OSR Contributing Editor
OSR Sting Extra

Jan. 15, 2010

ATLANTA – To compete on the collegiate level is a privilege and something that is sometimes taken for granted.

Georgia Tech is making sure its athletes are cognizant of the former while avoiding the latter.

To that end, close to 100 Yellow Jackets athletes will be on hand to help out at the Cobb County Civic Center tonight when when the Special Olympics of Georgia holds opening ceremonies for its 2010 indoor games. Another 50 or so will be at the events on Saturday and Sunday.

Tech’s contingent encompasses 11 different sports (football, baseball, softball, mens and women’s track, men’s and women’s swimming, volleyball, golf and women’s tennis). Members of the cheerleading squad and Buzz, the mascot, also will be on hand.

“We will have a tremendous representation of Georgia Tech student-athletes come out to support the Special Olympic Georgia State Games,” said Director Of Total Person Support Services Leah Thomas. “Our student-athletes actually feel honored to be a part of such a great event and look forward to this weekend every year. The Special Olympic athletes are very special and our student-athletes are humbled to get to spend time with them.”

Athletes eight years old and up get the opportunity to compete in some 23 sports in the three-day event. Athletes from 2 to 7 can compete in the Youth Athletes program.

The Special Olympics are held every four years, and last year’s World Winter Games held in Boise, Idaho, from Feb. 7-13, SOGA was especially successful as the Floor Hockey Team brought home a bronze medal, and skier Sarah Fodor won two bronze medals in alpine skiing.

But the spirit of competition is as important as winning, thus the Special Olympics Athlete Oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics has opened the door for more than a million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 150 countries to compete.

Special Olympics Georgia serves close to 23,000 athletes with over 100 programs in 109 counties, but reaches only 23 percent of athletes.

To contact SOGA and find out how you can Be a Fan, call 770-414-9390 or go to their web site at www.specialolympicsga.org.

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