Athletes compete in Huntsville’s Special Olympics

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- Maybe it's because of all the cheering, hugging, and high-fives, but there didn't seem to be a single frown at the Special Olympics at Huntsville's Milton Frank Stadium.

The 47th Special Olympics Track and Field competition brought athletes aging from 8 to 65 to the field to compete in races, shot put, and more.

We spoke to Rashaunye Williams after he won his third 1st place ribbon at the games.

"I always like running. And it's been the best thing for me. And it's great exercise too, you know?" he said, smiling.

Steve Hill, President of lead sponsor AEgis Technologies, put the day in perspective like this, "You're not breathing if you can't stand at the finish line of one of these races and just not enjoy the joy on these athletes faces."

This is a nice change of pace for families used to overcoming challenges in life.

Laporcha Williams, Rashaunye's mom, said, "This is a day you just set all that aside and do the best that you can. And it's all in fun, it's all in support."

More than 1600 volunteers flocked to the event. They are a big part of it; escorting athletes, manning the events, and timing races to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

"Every one of them will tell you they get about as much out of it as the athletes do," said Hill.

No matter how long it takes, every athlete gets recognized at these games. It's another way it's a touching and truly special experience for the athletes.