Special Olympics Iowa Comes to City High

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Special Olympics Iowa Comes to City High

Jack Bacon, Reporter

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The high school basketball season may be at an end, but over Spring Break both of City High’s gyms were packed with competitors ready to show off their hoops skills. That’s because on Saturday, March 10 the Iowa Special Olympics descended on Iowa City as athletes from across the state gathered to compete in a variety of events spread out around town.

Event Locations included the Field House and West High, while City was home to the basketball skills competition. For competitor Charles Lee, the experience was rewarding.

“The best part was all of it because everything was so fun,” said Lee, an Iowa City native. “I just have fun, that’s all.”

Lee, who won a silver medal in his division, qualified for the event by winning a regional competition that made him eligible to compete at the state level.

Special Olympics Iowa welcomes participants ages eight and up, so the basketball skills competition provided a rare opportunity for Lee, who is 56, to show off his skills.  

“(The competitors’) excitement is just awesome, and they’re so appreciative,” said the event’s Co-Director.

Special Olympics Iowa provides an opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities to stay active and compete in Olympics-style competitions. The organization hopes to both give athletes a platform to stay active and participate in the joy of sports while also advocating for the rights and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities.

Around 1500 total athletes competed in the Special Olympics last Saturday, including 370 athletes in the basketball skills competition at City High. Events included Target Passing, 10 Meter Dribble, and Spot Shot.

Athletes who want to get involved next year can enter qualifying events through their local Special Olympics chapter. People interested in volunteering for Special Olympics events can register at the Special Olympics website.