HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The pandemic and work on the track at Milton Frank Stadium have kept Special Olympics Alabama from holding its track and field event since 2019.
Special Olympics Alabama’s mission is to give kids and adult athletes with disabilities opportunities by providing them with training and events that resemble Olympic-like competitions.
Four years have gone by since the last event, but the athletes are back and lacing up their running shoes.
“I love everything, I love sports. I just love to be in it,” said competitor Hope Williams.
This was Hope Williams’ first time competing, but it won’t be her last as events like Tuesdays help her chase her dreams.
“I do a lot of stuff and I love sports and when I grow up, I want to be sports,” said Williams. “Like any kind of sports I can do, like softball or one of the sports I can do.”
About 37 schools from across North Alabama participate in the track and field Special Olympics, adding up to around 700 athletes.
“Well, you can look around and just see how special it is. If there’s not a smile child’s face that changes your smile, then you’re not human right. That’s why we do this it’s not for us it’s for the children,” said Camille Gardner, Special Olympics Alabama Track and Field Director.
“They practice all year round for this event. It’s almost like their Christmas they take their ribbons and they put them on their door and they put them on their windows and they talk about it all year long and so to bring that type of joy to the community is just a good blessing for us,” she added.
The biggest thing the Special Olympics Alabama said it needs going forward is volunteers for next year’s event in 2024.