For as long as Alecia Segursky can remember, Special Olympics has been a part of the Gordon County community. She became involved in 1995, and has been working with the organization ever since. 

Special Olympics is an international nonprofit sports organization that connects athletes with intellectual disabilities to coaches, volunteers and workers. In 2018, the movement celebrated its 50th anniversary, noting that it now consists of over 5 million athletes, 1 million coaches and volunteers, and 100,000 competitions yearly in over 170 countries.

On Tuesday, the Gordon County Special Olympics track and field events took place at the Gordon Central’s Ratner Stadium. Though the location rotates, the year-round sports training and athletic competition remain consistent for participants. Students from both Calhoun City Schools and Gordon County Schools were represented this week, as well as staff and volunteers.

Segursky said the sporting events put on by Special Olympics are a great way to bring people of all ages and skills together.

“It gives the athletes an opportunity to feel included in our community,” said Segursky, who serves as both the special education coordinator for Gordon County Schools and the director of Gordon County Special Olympics. “There are a lot of times our kids don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else. This lets them feel celebrated.”

Teresa Holcomb, a mother of two Special Olympics athletes, has been participating in the sporting events with her children for years. Her son Junior Adkins, 26, has been competing since he was little.

“I think it’s a good program for the kids, I really do,” Holcomb said, as her daughter Jennie was being awarded a first place ribbon. “It’s nice to see them like that. It thrills my heart.”

Special Olympic events are a great opportunity for community involvement and are always open to the public.

For more information regarding upcoming events, visit the Gordon County Special Olympics Facebook page.