ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — A big celebration took place at Lakewood Stadium on Tuesday, with the return of the Atlanta Public Schools Special Olympics. Hundreds of students hit the track for some fun and competition after a three-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic.
A crowd gave student athletes a big welcome as they entered the stadium. There was plenty of fanfare well before the competition started, with lots of dancing and the South Atlanta High School Marching Band performing for the occasion.
Athletes hit the track after the torch run and more than 40 years after APS held its first Special Olympics. Participants collected their ribbons at the finish line.
“This is awesome. It gets all the kids to come out and showcase their talents, whatever they are, and most importantly, just have fun,” said Jamal Patton, a parent.
The other track and field events included the 25 and 50-meter walks, dash and wheelchair races, a bean-bag toss and the tennis ball throw. The students conquer challenges much bigger than these races everyday. “Some of these kids really miss being around each other and having the opportunity to be with their peers and other teachers that they used to be with, so we’re just happy to be out,” said Maurice Miles, an autism unit teacher at Maynard Jackson High School.
“I like how we can compete, and I win first ribbon,” said Rodney Holloway, a 6th grader.
Everyday, they all make it to the finish line, as winners overcoming obstacles, and they’re looking forward to another celebration on the track next year.