By ALEX FERRER
At Mountain View Aquatic in Cobb County’s Marietta, the Special Olympic Swim Team is practicing for the summer Special Olympics Games, which will be hosted at Emory University this year.
Some of these athletes are year- round swimmers while some come to practice just to socialize. But part of what makes the Special Olympics special is how hard some of the people involved are willing to work for the betterment of others.
“Out of all the sports I do for the other Special Olympics, swimming is my favorite. I play basketball, softball, year-round swimming, and bowling,” said Sara S, who is one of the participants.
One of the true heroes of the Special Olympics is the volunteer. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the event and without their time and talent there would be no Special Olympics. One such volunteer is the coach of the Cobb County Special Olympics Swim Team, Greg Marquis. While he is an account manager for Cisco Systems, he was also once a swimmer for the NCAA during his college years.
“It inspires me to be around them,” Marquis said.
The athletes, the volunteers, and the coaches are essential to what makes the Special Olympics a success. Without the parents and caregivers, however, the event wouldn’t stand a chance; they are the ones who bring these special athletes to and from practice every week. They also bring their support.
According to Lorri Miller, the Special Olympics has given her daughter the ability to socialize more. Miller says her favorite part of the Special Olympics is that it keeps the kids active to do competitions like their peers.
Thanks to parents and volunteers, these athletes are able to participate in the Games, overcoming any obstacle in their way.