Special Olympics Spring Games return to Presque Isle.
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - It had been four long years since the last Special Olympics Spring Games event was held in Presque Isle. It was a long wait for everyone, but today it was back to business as usual as the athletes marched in the parade of the Olympians and returned to competition.
You haven’t done it in four years. You always were involved so were you really looking forward to this?
(Daniel Sirois):” Yes because we did a lot. We had a lot of fun.
(Craig Dufour):” Softball throw and running and I like sports.”
The day was perfect for the Olympians and the volunteers who have waited four years to compete against their friends from around the County in the Spring Games. From the parade of the Olympians to the lighting of the torch. Marcus Pellegrini and Peter Johnson had the honor of carrying the torch onto the track and then lighting the cauldron to officially start the games.
(Marcus Pellegrini):” Excited and nervous at the same time. When I found out I was going to carry the torch. They asked me if I would and I said I will do it. It felt really good.”
(Peter Johnson):” That is pretty awesome, we are pretty close in ago and have the same haircut, so it was actually really good.”
You both have huge smiles. Is that a natural smile because of today?
Pellegrini and Johnson:” It was a great time. My friend from the Houlton area. He is from Houlton I am from the Houlton area it brought back some good memories.”
The Athletes gave it their all in running, jumping and throwing events. They were determined to do their best, and at the same time had huge smiles as they were cheered on by family, friends and volunteers. In previous years well over 300 athletes would compete in the event, this year only about that number took part and the Area Management Team hopes the number will increase next year. Alice Malloch and Steve Richard were both honored by the Area Management team prior to the start of the event. The two were the pioneers for Special Olympics in the County back in the 70′s.
(Alice Malloch):” It has changed a lot. It has changed so much. Now they have a program they can put in the computer and put the Olympians in. I had to put them in manually and then make sure everyone was in all the groups.”
(Steve Richard):” We actually did it in the forum one year. We did it on the old track at Presque Isle High School. To have this facility here makes it so much nicer. MSAD #1 opens the door for us. No matter what we want they get for us.”
Everyone picked up right where they left off four years ago. The motto Let me win, but I can’t win, then let me be brave in the attempt rang out loud and clear against today. Smiles, laughter and High Fives. The event ran very smoothly thanks to the Area Management team, Volunteers from several National Honor Society Chapters around the County, Law Enforcement and businesses who allow their employees to attend the event. If you have never attended the games Malloch wants to extend an invitation to you to be there next May.
Malloch:” They need to come and watch and see the expression on the Olympians’ faces. It’s just a super day and it’s their day.”
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