Earlier this month at Provo High School, athletes from around the state of Utah gathered to compete in the 2017 Special Olympics Utah Summer Games. Many Danville clients from across the state participate in the games each year. One group of dedicated athletes from our Heber program prepared intently this year, and that preparation paid off handsomely—every athlete came home with a medal this summer!
Emily Cartwright, Danville’s Program Director in Heber says, “We look forward to the Special Olympics all year long.” This year, members of Heber’s ‘Tasmanian Devils’ competed in several track and field events, and the team spent many hours practicing at the Rec. Center in Heber before the big event in Provo. Participating in practices is part of the qualifying process for the games. The games also provide a great social opportunity for the participants. There’s the Special Olympics dance to kick things off, which is a lot of fun, and then the joy of competition and good sportsmanship on the field.
Emily says that each athlete tends to approach the games in their own way. “Some are very intent on winning, while others love to hear the cheers from the crowd and the hugs they get at the finish line.” The chance to bond and train as part of a team, plus the opportunity to travel and make new friends—it’s all part of the Special Olympics experience. “We were really impressed with the team this year,” says Emily.
Special Olympics Utah is a chapter of Special Olympics International. The Utah Chapter was established in 1971 and is a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit Utah corporation, operated by Utahns for Utah’s citizens with intellectual disabilities.