TEXAS – Special Olympics of Texas is suspending its summer games, affecting nearly 3,000 athletes.
“Our athletes just felt like the Special Olympics were taken from them, in a way,” said Bruce Clark, one of the athletes looking forward to the Summer Games.
Clark recently moved to Texas from Arizona and was excited to play his favorite sports in his new home state.
“Basketball was one of my sports that I played in Arizona, along with bocce and volleyball,” Clark said.
For Clark and athletes like him, the games were about more than just winning.
“That’s really their only source of interaction with other people too," he said.
“We don’t want them to feel isolated," explained Special Olympics Texas' Sarah Ribeiro. "We want them to continue to be part of the community and to keep them active.”
To do that, the Special Olympics of Texas came up with the “S.O. Connected” program where athletes can interact with their coaches and teammates.
Participants get to do live video workouts from home, virtually play video games together, and just stay in touch with their Special Olympics family.
“It’s really been an exciting time for us, actually," assured Ribeiro. "Because we’ve been able to tap into other areas of learning and getting to know each other that wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”
Even when the torch is not lit, their fire was far from extinguished.