COLLEGE STATION, Texas — This weekend athletes from across Texas will be competing in The Special Olympic games for Area 6 at College Station High School.
Since 1969, Special Olympics Texas has provided a year-round athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports.
This gives children and adults with intellectual disabilities opportunities to develop physical fitness and experience joy in their community.
Coach Randi Daniel says why she loves to be leading these strong individuals.
“It’s pure - you have all the same emotions, you learn all the same lessons, it’s just on a different stage," said Daniel. “It’s definitely 2 years too long. We have definitely missed having it [the games] at College Station High School. It’s been a long, difficult 2 years without these events in our life, so we are really pumped to have all the athletes and coaches and volunteers come out to have fun again.”
According to Special Olympics Texas, the games haven’t been held in person for 3 years due to COVID restrictions but says they’re excited to have it in College Station once again.
A.J. Edenzon, associate regional director of the Special Olympics Texas (East Region) says she can’t wait to return to action.
“This is the first Spring Games in Area 6 since 2019, so we just returned to in person activity Last Fall and with a few restrictions. Now we are back to full force," Edenzon said.
In the 2 year hiatus, the competition was held virtually with online activities for participants, but Edenzon says this weekend is important to these athletes.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for those athletes to really feel that return to play – that excitement – that inclusion – that acceptance in their community.”
Organizers say these games wouldn’t be special without the heart behind these games – the Athletes.
Ella Simpson, 20, an area cyclist says friends are the reason she's ready to get back to the games.
“I get to hang out with my friends in cycling, we get to do our skillsets that really help me at our competition," said Simpson.
Preparing endless hours with Coach Randi by her side, Simpson says she wishes good luck to her fellow athletes this weekend.
The games will be held at college station high school Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26. For Ella Simpson, she says she's ready to ride again.