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HomeNewsArchives31st Annual Special Olympics Games Draw About 150 Athletes

31st Annual Special Olympics Games Draw About 150 Athletes

June 2, 2008 — A marching band heralded the opening and a medal ceremony offered a joyous closing to the 31st annual St. Thomas-St. John Special Olympics Games, held Monday at Antilles School.
The games are designed for individuals, many of whom are physically challenged and most of whom are intellectually challenged.
An estimated turnout of 150 special athletes made for fun competition in track and field, a basketball toss, a dribbling contest, a softball throw and tennis racket games, earning every participant at least one medal.
It was the first time the local games were held on a school day, according to co-coordinator, Sybille Sorrentino, thus enabling schools across St. Thomas to bus children to and from the event, helping boost the numbers.
Not everyone liked the idea of having the Special Olympics on a school day. A weekday event minimized the community's participation, as many would-be volunteers were working, said Janice Lee, the national director of the Special Olympics of the Virgin Islands. Nevertheless, some 45 people turned out to help, and Lee called the day a success.
The games got underway following an opening march led by the Reserve Officer Training Corps from Charlotte Amalie High School and an address from Cecile deJongh, the first lady of the Virgin Islands, pledging her and her husband's support of Special Olympics.
Smiles were contagious as students unleashed their seldom-seen spirit of athletic competition.
"When one girl I was working with finished throwing the ball, she was in ecstasy!" Sorrentino proclaimed. "She just stood there crying as people were cheering for her. It was the best thing. It was totally worth it."
Brion Morrisette, a St. John attorney who represented the Virgin Islands in the pole-vaulting competition in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, had never participated in Special Olympics before today, where he found himself manning the long jump.
"It was so enjoyable to watch them compete," Morrisette said. "Whether they jumped one foot, and some did, or whether they jumped eight feet, and some did, they were all so pleased with their own performances.
"When you spend a little time with these special-ed kids, you realize they're just like any other kid."
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June 2, 2008 -- A marching band heralded the opening and a medal ceremony offered a joyous closing to the 31st annual St. Thomas-St. John Special Olympics Games, held Monday at Antilles School.
The games are designed for individuals, many of whom are physically challenged and most of whom are intellectually challenged.
An estimated turnout of 150 special athletes made for fun competition in track and field, a basketball toss, a dribbling contest, a softball throw and tennis racket games, earning every participant at least one medal.
It was the first time the local games were held on a school day, according to co-coordinator, Sybille Sorrentino, thus enabling schools across St. Thomas to bus children to and from the event, helping boost the numbers.
Not everyone liked the idea of having the Special Olympics on a school day. A weekday event minimized the community's participation, as many would-be volunteers were working, said Janice Lee, the national director of the Special Olympics of the Virgin Islands. Nevertheless, some 45 people turned out to help, and Lee called the day a success.
The games got underway following an opening march led by the Reserve Officer Training Corps from Charlotte Amalie High School and an address from Cecile deJongh, the first lady of the Virgin Islands, pledging her and her husband's support of Special Olympics.
Smiles were contagious as students unleashed their seldom-seen spirit of athletic competition.
"When one girl I was working with finished throwing the ball, she was in ecstasy!" Sorrentino proclaimed. "She just stood there crying as people were cheering for her. It was the best thing. It was totally worth it."
Brion Morrisette, a St. John attorney who represented the Virgin Islands in the pole-vaulting competition in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, had never participated in Special Olympics before today, where he found himself manning the long jump.
"It was so enjoyable to watch them compete," Morrisette said. "Whether they jumped one foot, and some did, or whether they jumped eight feet, and some did, they were all so pleased with their own performances.
"When you spend a little time with these special-ed kids, you realize they're just like any other kid."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.