Never stop exploring: Special Olympics

The Special Olympics are not just about sports: they are also a time for athletes to bond, spectators to cheer on their teams, and community spirit to soar.

Editor’s note: This story was written in early spring and would have been published in the print issue “Never stop exploring.”

Anyone can play sports. Though that’s an extremely broad statement, the Special Olympics gives everyone the opportunity to compete in different events. It might not be getting the most attention, yet this amazing program is truly changing lives around the world.

Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics has developed into a worldwide organization, with 175 countries participating.

According to their website, the mission of the Special Olympics is “to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

Some events the athletes compete in around the world are alpine skiing, aquatics, badminton, basketball, bowling, judo, track and field, softball, table tennis, sailing, snowshoeing, volleyball, and many more.

Here at Coronado, we have 12 Special Olympics athletes who participated in a competition at Burges High School on March 4. The event was organized by math teacher Mr. Mario Hernandez and included events like the 200-yard speed walk, the 200-yard run, relays, and a 400-meter race. The athletes practiced during first period on A days at the track to prepare for the big day.

This event was extremely beneficial for not only the athletes but also for people in the community. The Special Olympics allows individuals around El Paso to volunteer their time to help with the event. Though many do not realize, it does make a large difference.

“The athletes enjoy just being at the event, and being able to run with one of them is a truly amazing experience that I will cherish forever,” junior Aron Basurto said.

In the end, the Special Olympics competition is a great thing for Coronado High School and El Paso as a whole. Our school is extremely blessed to have this program. As a school and community, we should embrace this program and support our Special Olympic athletes and congratulate them for their stellar performance.