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Hundreds compete in 2017 Special Olympics

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Columbia, S.C. (WACH)-- Hundreds of athletes competed in the 2017 Summer Special Olympics on Saturday. From Bocce, to Track and field, to Ball Tossing, the competitors kicked, threw and cheered their way to victory. One volunteer at the Blythewood High School site, Donna Polk, said that the energy on and off the field was full of positivity and inspiration."There was such enthusiasm, such camaraderie," said Polk. "They were cheering each other on and just genuinely happy and excited for one another."The participants were athletes with special needs, but many of the team coaches attending had special needs as well. One coach, Billie Jo Duvan, competed in the Fall Special Olympic games. came back to inspire her team and help push them to the finish line."They can tell their family and kids one day, 'Hey, I did this. And you can come out and do this the same way as I can." said Duvan.Duvan said she wanted to make sure she came back and proved to others that they, too, can overcome their obstacles as she has done. She says that she couldn't be prouder of her team."It makes me happy," said Duvan. "It really makes me happy. I love them so much."Other competitions played included Badminton, Gymnastics, Powerlifting and Softball, among others.The games kicked off with a law enforcement torch run Friday evening on Devine street. Officials say over a thousand participants are competing this year.

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