FITCHBURG -- Olympians from all over Central Massachusetts came together to compete in the seventh annual Special Olympics on April 30 at Fitchburg State University.
Despite the cold, wet day -- from the opening ceremony, the entering of the torch, through the events and medal ceremonies -- a fun time was enjoyed by our own local athletes from Ayer Shirley Elementary, FLLAC program, Groton Dunstable, along with many others.
Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries.
The Special Olympics logo has gone through several changes in its lifetime. The current "stick figure" is an abstract but humanistic form designed to convey the impression of movement and activity. The logo is a symbol of growth, confidence and joy among children and adults with disabilities who are learning coordination, mastering skills, participating in competitions and preparing themselves for richer, more productive lives.
Special Olympics programs are available for athletes free of charge and open to athletes ages 8 and up. For young people with intellectual disabilities ages 2-7, Special Olympics has a Young Athletes program -- a sport and play program with a focus on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth.
The Special Olympics athlete's oath is, "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." It was first introduced by Eunice Kennedy Shriver at the inaugural Special Olympics international games in Chicago in 1968.
The Flame of Hope is the symbol of the Special Olympics.
For information on Special Olympics in Massachusetts, or if you would like to volunteer, go to specialolympicsma.org/get-involved/ or if you would like information regarding the Special Olympics event at Fitchburg State University, email firstname.lastname@example.org.