Photos: Special Olympians run, jump, celebrate

Polk County’s most special athletes recently ran, jumped and celebrated in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

The annual Polk County Special Olympics brought together children and adults to compete in events while being cheered on by family, friends and students from Polk County High School.

Special Olympics is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through sports, education, leadership and athlete health. Athletes from Polk Central, Polk County Middle, Polk County High School, Saluda Elementary, Tryon Elementary and Polk Vocational Services competed in different track and field events during the day.

Bianca Mowers, a senior at Polk County HIgh School, carried the torch to light the cauldron and begin the games. An AirMed helicopter followed with a flyover that delighted all in attendance.

Polk County’s Special Olympics Coordinator, Jane Ollis, noted that the event would not happen without the assistance of numerous people and organizations, including Special Olympics NC Healthy Athlete Program, Special Olympics Henderson County, Southwest NC Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Polk County Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Department, Polk County Veterans Memorial Honor Guard, Polk Health and Human Services, Blue Ridge Health, Oral Health Section of the Department of Health and Human Services NC, Polk County Fire Department, Polk County EMS/Rescue, Kimball Communications, Columbus Food Lion, Tryon IGA ,Foothills BBQ, Foothills Equestrian Nature Center – TROT and Ol’ Dawgs Band.

Polk County High School also provided assistance from organizations including Unified Champions, Key Club, Art Department, Chorus, Polk’s Theater Group, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Polk High Health Science students, Polk’s Entrepreneur Coalition, Polk teachers and staff and the Polk County Band.

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