Athletes compete in 2012 Idaho Special Olympic Games

Athletes compete in 2012 Idaho Special Olympic Games

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 24, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 10:35 PM

BOISE -- The 2012 Idaho Special Olympic Summer Games drew big crowds Saturday.

"Everyone's a winner, no matter if they're on our team or any other team," said Georgie Orr, a coach of 17 athletes from Nampa.

It's attitudes like Orr’s that made the Games a success.

Over 800 athletes were in Boise Saturday competing in the Games. That's a little less than last year, but the day was still full of competition.

"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." That’s the Special Olympic motto. It isn’t just an empty phrase. For the athletes, it’s a way of life.

"They're doing all good," Orr said. "All the athletes are, not just our team. So, they're all doing really well."

Coaching has its own rewards.

"Just a sense of joy watching the kids compete," Orr said. "It's just great."

The happiness for volunteers like Orr and Rachelle Graefe, who coordinates and prepares the awards, comes from the competitors.

"Gold, silver or bronze, it brings them joy," said Graefe.

While joy is something that rubs off on just about everyone, it’s the hardware people are competing for.

"I'm going to go get a gold medal for my mom," said one athlete.

Over on the basketball courts, there were some great, competitive games.

"Our first game we won by one point and our last game we won by a point," said Bobby Barnes, an athlete from Boise.

He said good attitudes, good sportsmanship and everyone playing hard is what stood out among the competition.

Candy Snyder's son Ethan plays for the Heat from Payette County, who were no doubt trying to repeat the Miami Heat's recent success.

"These people may have difficulties and they may have challenges, but this gives them a level playing field,” said Snyder. “They get to play with other people like them and they get encouraged.”

All of this, the games, the races, happened with the motto in mind: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

"If you don't win, at least you had fun with it, so that to me is how I see it," said Christopher Hawk, a track and field athlete.

Competition wrapped up Saturday night with a dinner and a dance.

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