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Back on track: Special Olympics brings together athletes and supporters

A very successful 2023 Buncombe County Special Olympics was held on Thursday, May 4. Attendance was clocked at around 1,200 people, including 350 athletes, 300 buddies, and hundreds of volunteers on-site at T.C. Roberson High School for the track and field events. This year's event was notable in that it was the first time in three years that Buncombe County hosted athletes in the Special Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The weather was good, and the energy was high.

Program events included warm-up exercises provided by A.C. Reynolds High School and the Law Enforcement Torch Run to light the Olympic Torch. Jacob Sander of T.C. Roberson - PEP sang the national anthem, Logan Hooker said the Pledge of Allegiance, the Presentation of Colors was performed by the T.C. Roberson JR ROTC- Local Knights of Columbus members, Britt Arnett of A.C. Reynolds High School announced the Olympic Oath, and the welcome address was given by Buncombe County Manager, Avril Pinder. Field events included the 50- and 100-meter run and walk, softball toss, and long jump, among others. The City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department provided event support by hosting the Buncombe County Special Olympic Village which included face painting, sign-making, and North Buncombe FFA livestock show.

While this massive event requires coordinating service providers, school systems, sponsors, athletes, families, and volunteers, it is all for the smiles and high fives that happen once the events begin. Lynn Pegg, Parks and Recreation Program Manager, was thrilled with the outcome of the event, saying, "We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout and a better event than this. The athletes worked hard today, and the volunteers were awesome. It is truly all about the athletes and what they bring to this event. Special thanks to Buncombe County Schools and Chick-fil-A for their generous support of this event."

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Updated May 19, 2023 12:38 PM
Published May 08, 2023 03:00 PM