Athletes Compete at Special Olympics Texas Summer Games in Arlington
By Krystal-Rose Agu
Posted on May 31, 2016, May 31, 2016

Athletes Compete

The 47 th annual Special Olympics Texas Summer Games offered more than 2,800 athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete on a state-wide scale at the University of Texas at Arlington and surrounding venues May 26-29.

"This is the most amount of sports we put on in one weekend, at one area," said Steve Helm, Special Olympics Texas Public Relations Coordinator. "It's a really great turnout year after year and we're very fortunate to be here."

More than 300 fundraising efforts throughout the year supported the four-day competition, which is the largest event for Special Olympics Texas.

During the Games, athletes from more than 17 regional areas across Texas contended in track and field, basketball, cycling, soccer, tennis and gymnastics.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run initiated the competition Friday as more than 300 police officers from across Texas delivered a lit torch from their hometowns to UT Arlington's Maverick Stadium.

Although rainy weather delayed initial track and field events Friday, clear skies followed providing a dry setting for outside events and competitions.

Sydney Weigand, an 18-year-old tennis player for the Round Rock Roadrunners, competed Friday and said her mindset was to just hit the ball, play hard and have fun.

Her favorite part about the games Friday: "Having fun with my friends," Weigand said.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the opening ceremony commemorated the athletes with music, a parade, speeches, dancing and a lighting of the cauldron.

With all six sporting events continuing throughout the next day, Saturday proved to be the competition's high-intensity day and a prime opportunity for visitors to experience what the Summer Games are all about, Helm said.

A number of teams came out victorious Saturday, including coach Drew Nelson's Bay Area Heat basketball team. Nelson, also Dean of Arts and Science at Alvin Community College, said that as an administrator and boss, the Special Olympics Texas Summer Games allowed him to bring out the best in people and gain another perspective on the world.

"It just helps me differentiate how I treat people," Nelson said.

As track and field events and basketball matches wrapped up Sunday, the Special Olympics Texas Summer Games gave athletes a time in history where they were able to show the community the fruits of their work.

"It's really a joy to see them put on those medals and watch everything that they've accomplished," Helm said.

Athletes Compete

Special Olympics Texas
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