Local athlete shines at Special Olympics
Posted: Wednesday, Aug 4th, 2010
BY: Amanda Fry, Staff Writer
[url="http://www.pcrecordtimes.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=74&story_id=17 78"]http://www.pcrecordtimes.com/v2_news_ar ... ry_id=1778[/url]
Courtesy photo Wheatland Special OIympics participant Jacob McKinley (right) and coach Bill Allison.
For Jacob McKinley, the journey to the National Special Olympics in Lincoln, Neb, began in 2006, when he first participated in the Special Olympics program.
Jacob began Special Olympics in the basketball event. Soon, he moved to the program’s bowling event, and Jacob’s mother, Marilyn, said he “fell in love” with Special Olympics while participating in this event.
Since then, Jacob has also added track and field to his schedule, and at the National games, participated in the 50 meter run, the softball throw, and the standing long jump.
Jacob received a gold in both the softball throw and 50 meter run, and a silver in the long jump.
Marilyn said for her, watching the athletes at the Olympics, from their support of each other to their perseverance in their events, was very special, and they have a capability that goes beyond athletic ability.
For Jacob, Marilyn said the games help him gain confidence, and “he can be him,” when out competing, and there is “complete acceptance” for athletes at the Olympics.
Community support was another positive aspect of the National Games for the McKinleys. Marilyn emphasized the fundraisers, and general community support from Wheatland residents, as “overwhelming.”
“We live in a great community.”
Jacob was coached by Wheatland resident Bill Allison, a former high school track team member and Little League Coach. Now, Bill said he has helped coach for Special Olympics for 2 years.
Bill said the participants are recognized for their efforts only 7 days out of the year, with Wyoming hosting 3 events per year.
“That’s about the only time they really get out and get recognized,” Bill said.
Special Olympics are open to athletes 8 and up. For more information on the program, please contact your local Special Education department.