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Special Olympics an important event

The Chambers County Special Olympics took place last week at the Valley Community Center. Nearly 50 athletes from local schools competed in more than a dozen events.

Each tested the athletes’ physical abilities in disciplines such as swimming, running, jumping and throwing.

The various competitions provided an opportunity for participants to showcase what they can do — not what they can’t.

That’s one reason why the Special Olympics is such an important event. It transfers the focus from can’t to can.

People with intellectual disabilities confront their physical and mental boundaries on a daily basis. Often, a lens is trained on their limitations.

The Special Olympics shifts that paradigm while providing many benefits.

The event gives those who normally spectate at sporting events a chance to take center stage, to shine and to absorb cheers of encouragement.

The Valley Community Center shook with shouts on Friday as young athletes laid it all on the line. Once they finished, they were met with embraces and rewarded with medals.

Surely, their sense of accomplishment was enhanced by the warm reception. The recognition of achievement boosts confidence and promotes increased self-esteem.

Participation in the Special Olympics also gives participants a chance to improve their physical fitness. Exercise in any form helps combat health issues, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Overall, the Chambers County Special Olympics served —  and continues to serve —  a critical purpose in our community. The event brings immense value to local families and to the area as a whole.

The Valley Times-News applauds the organizers, volunteers and athletes who made it possible.