PCMS hosts Special Olympics 

Published 9:59 pm Sunday, April 14, 2019

2019 Spring Games draws 70 competitors 

MILL SPRING—On Thursday April 11, Polk County Middle School hosted the 2019 North Carolina Special Olympics Spring Games. The coordinator for the event was Jane Ollis, an educator at Tryon Elementary School.  

“We had over 70 competitors this year and over 100 volunteers,” Ollis said. “We have volunteers from the PCHS news team, the Track team, the Unified Champions program and the Key Club.” 

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North Carolina held its first Special Olympics in 1970 with roughly 400 competitors and has grown into one of the largest Special Olympic programs in the world. There are almost 40,000 individuals with mental disabilities registered in the North Carolina Special Olympic program. The program offers 19 different sports and training for competitions is available year round.  

Competitors from the Young Athletes program were in attendance at the Spring Games. The Special Olympic Young Athletes program is aimed at children ages 2-7, with or without intellectual disabilities, to teach them basic athletic skills like running, kicking, and throwing.  

“The Tryon International Equestrian Center was our sponsor for the event,” Ollis said. “They provided all of the food and labor for the concessions. Paul Dale from Foothills BBQ provided the hamburger patties as well.” 

Pat Gray, one of the managers of the restaurant and food division at the Tryon International Equestrian Center was in attendance and helped run the concession stand at the Special Olympic event.  

“We are donating all of the food and labor to run the concessions. All of the money raised is going back to the Special Olympics,” said Gray. “It is a great cause and we are happy to be a part of it.” 

“I am very happy with the turn out this year,” Ollis said. “The weather has been great and we have had so many happy faces today.”  

“I would like to thank all of our volunteers, our sponsor the Tryon International Equestrian Center, and Polk County Middle School for allowing us to use their facility And Lauren Baird from the Polk County Rec center for working the Olympic Village for the kids, Ollis said. 

By Samuel Robinson