By John Ramos

LAFAYETTE (KPIX 5) – A couple hundred special education students in Contra Costa County participated in track and field events in the Special Olympics Northern California.

If anything was missing at Acalanes High School in Lafayette Tuesday morning, it was self-doubt.

David Solo, the president of NorCal Special Olympics said, “What’s terrific about our athletes is they believe they can accomplish anything. That there are no barriers to their success.”

That’s what’s so inspiring about Special Olympics. Everyone wants to win but there’s courage in just being out there, defying the hurdles life puts in your way.

Special Olympian Colin Kamian finished his race and then just decided to keep on running.

Kamian said, “Because I always like when I do things and run, jumping and throwing.”

Several hundred Contra Costa students competed in familiar Olympic events including the javelin throw, shot putting with a tennis ball and of course, the standing broad jump.

And while Special Olympian Nuk Tae Doherty did his best to leave the others behind in his 50-yard dash — he said he felt that he was going at lightning speed — no one really had to finish alone.

Developmental disabilities often leave parents feeling isolated from the rest of the world so events like this give them a chance to celebrate their children’s lives in an atmosphere that feels so delightfully normal.

Erin McGregor, the mother of special needs child, says, “You don’t get these opportunities every day. So when you have the opportunity it’s really great to see, not only your own child, but others that have different disabilities and just support them.”

And speaking of support, as Mike Edlinger ran alongside his son Luke it was hard to tell who was more proud of the effort.

And as competitors proudly received their ribbons and a chance to pose with cops, their real-life heroes, they became heroes themselves not for winning, but for being brave in the attempt.

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