850 Special Olympians from across the state will be Charleston this weekend for the annual Summer Games.
WV Special Olympics
850 Special Olympians from across the state will be Charleston this weekend for the annual Summer Games.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Some very special athletes are in the Capitol City this weekend to compete for some coveted titles. The annual West Virginia Special Olympics Summer Games begins Friday and lasts through Sunday.

More than 850 athletes and their coaches will be on hand to participate in the games. They’ll compete in events such as track and field, golf, tennis and swimming. Laidley Field will be the center of activity but the games will be spread out at venues across the city including the pool at the YMCA.

West Virginia Special Olympics Director John Corbett said the event gives athletes a chance to prove they can accomplish anything.

“It’s a chance for our Special Olympic athletes to shine, to reach some personal accomplishments, to have a moment to be recognized,” explained Corbett.

The goal, according to organizers, is to give the athletes the best possible experience.

“It’s about an overall experience where they just leave feeling good about what they’ve been able to accomplish during the summer games,” according to Corbett.

Along with the games, there’s also the athlete’s village, where they get to participate in games, meet other athletes and just relax.

Corbett said the event wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of people who donate their time to make it all happen.

“I’m just amazed at how compassionate, how dedicated, how committed these community volunteers are. Because, simply stated, we can’t do it without them.”

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