Special Olympics provides venue for success for members of Champions Academy

Running a track or throwing a ball might seem easy for some students, but for others, working up the courage or energy to hit a softball can be challenging. Students in the Champions Academy prove that they strive to put forth the effort to succeed in the annual Special Olympics.

The members of the Champions Academy will have a send-off tomorrow at lunch in anticipation of their meet on Saturday. The students will be announced at lunch after a small walk through pep rally. 

“Special Olympics is an opportunity for kids who have challenges to show that they can compete just like everybody else,” Champions instructor Tim Thorstenson said.  “Kids have to train if they want to medal. If they want to be on the podium they have to win. It’s an actual competition, not a participation award. These kids work hard for this competition.”

Students in the Champions Academy participate in Special Olympics because they don’t always get to join in the activities neurotypical students can.

“My favorite part about being in the Special Olympics is doing the activities,” senior Lizzy Moore said. “I love getting to throw the softball because I don’t normally get to play the sports I like.” 

Though some may believe Special Olympics is something just for fun, Champion Academy students work hard for their sport.

“This is my first year in this district,” Thorstenson said. “But in previous districts, I have had kids that were in the basketball teams that went all the way to state. I want people that view Special Olympics as a participation medal to realize these kids work very hard.” 

Special Olympics offers an opportunity for students to partake in an event that they normally would not be successful in.

“I’m glad I got the chance to participate in something I have never done before,” senior Blake Conerly said. “I love getting to do the races and having the chance to compete. I placed first in the running competition and that was so fun.”

It is evident throughout Champions Academy that there is an air of thoughtfulness throughout the classroom, and it should be known that everyone should have a chance to do what they love.

“These kids deserve the opportunity to show what they can do,” Thorstenson said. “I know that people have been very pessimistic about Special Olympics until they go and understand that you really have to experience to compete. They train like everybody else. They are true Champions.”