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April 13, 2014

Limestone Special Olympians compete at Athens High School

'totally inspiring'

— Chris Peoples couldn’t decide which Special Olympics event is his favorite — running, softball throwing or long jumping.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I think softball.”

People was one of hundreds of Olympians, volunteers and parents who came out for the annual Olympiad, held this year at Athens High School stadium.

Volunteer Brianca Trammell, a 2013 graduate of Sparkman High School, came to help this year because she loves doing it.

“I’ve been doing this since I was a freshman,” she said. “It’s such an awesome, great experience. I like helping the kids and seeing all their smiling faces. I want everyone to experience it.”

Jim Barnes, an assistant coach at Sparkman, not only helps with the Limestone County meet by organizing, timing and firing the starting gun, he and others, including Cassidy Bonner and Lynn Meadows, travel all over the state to help at other area school meets. They also help with the Special Olympics state track meet.

“When you see them walking, running or in wheelchairs giving 100 percent, it’s totally inspiring,” Barnes said.

About 20 runners kicked off this year’s Olympic event with an overnight run to promote the games and to raise money to send runners to the state Special Olympics meet in May. The 75-mile run began Thursday afternoon, with each runner taking a leg then stopping, resting, catching a van to the next stop and resuming. They made stops at each county high school along the way before finishing the trek early Friday morning at Athens stadium in time for the opening ceremony.

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