Plainville gym to host Special Olympics meet Sunday
The Herald - 3/2/2017
PLAINVILLE - Farmington Valley Gymnastics will host Special Olympics competitions Sunday, offering area athletes with mental and physical disabilities a chance to put their skills and training to the test.
Coryann Martin, a coach "with a passion for special needs" at the gymnastics center at 5 Northwest Drive, said the event will begin at 10:30 a.m. The opening ceremonies will include a torch bearing and a singing of the National Anthem and that competitions will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afterward the athletes will be treated to a catered lunch.
Martin said Farmington Valley Gymnastics will be hosting the competition for the second year this year and that they are "honored" to be the hosting facility.
"As soon as the athletes walked in, you could feel the positive energy," said Martin. "Whether they had autism or mental retardation, it was their reward for the work and training they put in throughout the year. In the past, this event was held at high schools, not a big gymnastics facility, so they very much enjoyed that.
"Many of our volunteers had never experienced working with special needs people before, but by the end they were touched by the experience and volunteering to help out again next year. It was a very good day and very heart warming, educational and positive for everyone."
Last year, Martin said, there were 22 athletes ranging in age from eight to 40. They will be competing in age-appropriate divisions. The challenges will include high bar, single bar, parallel bar, vaulting and floor exercises.
The winners will compete to win medals and ribbons but Farmington Valley Gymnastics will also give each athlete a participation ribbon. Martin said that this is intended to make "each child feel worthy."
"The Special Olympics have a motto, which is 'let me win but if I cannot then let me be brave in the attempt,'" said Martin.
Martin added that the event is open to the public and free to watch.
"Last year, including families, we had more than 100 people watching," she said. "If you want an uplifting, touching and heartfelt experience, stop on in. You will leave with a smile on your face."
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.