Ames hosts national, Iowa Special Olympics

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” is the athlete oath of the Special Olympics. On May 18, the Iowa Special Olympics, hosted in Ames, will bring athletes, supporters and volunteers from all over the state. There are 24 different sports in the Iowa Special Olympics, ranging from bocce to gymnastics to soccer. Most of the athletes at Ames High are participating in swimming events. One student, Shamis Thompson, is part of the soccer team for the national Special Olympics. Athletes from all across the state are invited to participate in the games at no cost. Year-round training is available to each athlete, totaling up to over 2.2 million athletes worldwide. The district meet, where athletes compete to find who qualifies for state, was on April 1 in Marshalltown. Ames did very well this year, winning in all of the relay categories of boys, girls, and co-ed. “They worked hard, cheered each other on, and did very well at the district meet. I hope that they all have good finishes at state,” said coach Hilary Ziebold. Year-round, this organization aims to give them the ability to demonstrate courage and to allow them to have fun while sharing their talent and hard work. “It also keeps you in shape,” said senior Amanda Searcy. It also gives them the opportunity to have a life-long skill. Young adults can continue competing as they grow older. “I love the challenge and the competition,” said senior April Grove. Although there is heavy competition, good sportsmanship is very important. “We treat each other with respect,” said senior Jason Huston. There are many ways to show that you care in the midst of competition. “One good thing is that we cheer each other on when we’re swimming, but it’s hard to say because there are so many good things,” said junior Ben Schnable. In July, Ames also has the honor of hosting the national Special Olympics. Since this non-profit organization is also worldwide, every 4 years there are world games including more than 150 countries. If you would like information on volunteering or supporting the Special Olympics: State: ? National: The Ames High Special Olympics athletes would like to give a special thank you to Doug Arrowsmith and Iowa State University for their support of our program. When the Ames High pool was closed, Iowa State University was the only facility in Ames with a pool that was willing to let us use their pool so the team could continue training for the summer games.