By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The sound in the Colvin Center was deafening. Voices screamed, hands pounded on the floor and crowds clapped as Special Olympics athletes practiced their motor skills for medals.
The athletes, many in motorized wheelchairs, tried their hand at rolling balls, crawling to the finish line, moving blocks and other events designed to improve motor skills.
“You can do it,” urged Amanda Rosamond to her son Gabriel.
He sat in his motorized chair with a labeled tray over his lap. Slowly but surely, he moved a one-inch by one-inch blue block to the other side through intense concentration and encouragement from the crowd. As he dropped the block into a taped-off square on the other side, his face lit up and he giggled as the crowd burst into cheers. His mother beamed with pride.
“It’s these little milestones that he’s getting to do that show he’s capable of doing these skills,” she said.
Her 15-year-old son has been coming to the Special Olympics Summer Games in Stillwater from Tecumseh since he was 8 years old.
“It’s the only thing like it,” she said.
She listed the events in which he competes, including ball roll, ball toss, ball kick, rolling, turning over and moving blocks. He smiled and stuck his tongue out when she said ball kick. It’s his favorite, she said.
Motor Activities Program Director Debbie Nobles said 18 athletes were competing in the motor activities events this year, many of them with multiple disabilities. In addition to being fun, the games also train the athletes in motor skills. Nobles said many schools use the same events for physical therapy with special needs students.
The Special Olympics Summer Games conclude Friday. This year’s events have attracted more than 4,600 athletes from around the state to compete in golf, bowling, horseshoes, powerlifting, basketball and many others sports.