The weather was a challenge -- cancelling the Area 15 Track and Field Special Olympics not once, but twice.
But this group is used to challenges, and when Friday, April 29, finally gave Blount County a break in the terrible weather, there were smiles and joy all around as Special Olympic athletes from around the county made Heritage High School their own Olympic village.
Area 15 Special Olympics is open to Blount County citizens who are 8 years old and older, with the goal of helping people with intellectual disabilities participate in sports that show their skills and talents while increasing public awareness of the capabilities of this special group. Schools and centers across Blount County participate, and the games are open to independent athletes as well. Administered by the Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Rec program, there are five athletic competitions held each year.
The Track and Field Competition is one of the best attended, and also brings out a plethora of volunteers and peer buddies to assist with the competitions and festivities surrounding the games. Cookie Crowson, assistant director of Parks and Rec, administers the program and coordinates the games.