SPRINGFIELD — These athletes are excited to show people what they can do in competition.
Saturday continued a weekend of celebration as hundreds of athletes competed in the Special Olympics.
Competitors from around the state gathered at Missouri State today for the second day of the weekend-long event.
For the fourth consecutive year, Missouri State University is playing home to the Special Olympics of Missouri. Brandon Schatsiek, Media Manager with Special Olympics, is hoping to get people out to cheer on some of their athletes.
“This is our athletes opportunity to prove not just to themselves but to the outside community that they are just like any other athlete,” says Schatsiek.
He says the crowd brings a different element to the events.
“You’ll really see a lot of them kind of respond to some of that and really kind of feed of it. We want to give them the best experience possible and we can only do that through community support through fans in the stands,” Schatsiek says.
While fan support can be a motivator, athletes have people keeping them up on the sidelines too, like Edric Britain. He is a member of the Game Management Team, and as an athlete himself, he knows what his fellow competitors go through.
“I give them some info on what to do if they get nervous. It makes me feel good. It feels great after I do it, and it’ wonderful. It’s all about jsut coming out and having fun and doing your best,” says Britian.
One athlete, Brett Harper, has as much fun as anybody out there. He is in a number of events, but he likes the 400-meter race best, and he is ready to go the distance.
He has had success this weekend in his events, but it doesn’t just happen without putting in hard work before his events.
“Practicing my running, and I’m also practicing my jumping too.”
Schatsiek says the venue in Springfield could not be more beneficial to their efforts.
“Just the support from the community, whether its sponsors or volunteers, we know what we are going to get when We come to Springfield every time and that’s really nice to know going into a competition,” says Schatsiek.
The games will continue Sunday with more track and field events from 7:30 to 1 p.m.
Brett Harper is using these games a tune up before he goes to the 2018 USA Special Olympic Games in Seattle in just a few weeks.