Triangle gets taste of Olympic competition

Posted July 19, 2008 6:14 p.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2008 7:42 p.m. EDT

— The Triangle has gotten a taste of Olympic competition this weekend, with nearly 800 athletes participating in the state Special Olympics Midsummer Tournament.

Equestrian, tennis and bowling events in Raleigh and Cary began Friday and will continue through Sunday afternoon.

"It's fun, and it's challenging, so I still come back," said Stuart Goodmyn, of Raleigh, who has competed in the Special Olympics for four years.

During matches on the tennis courts at North Carolina State University, competition and camaraderie went together like a serve and volley.

"I wouldn't give this up for nothing," tennis player Becky Peedin, from Johnston County, said.

Peedin's mother, Linda Vick, said that despite a genetic disorder, her daughter has accomplished some major milestones, including competing in the Special Olympics for a second year.

"I'm real proud of her," Vick said. "Becky does real good. She lives on her own; she's married."

Tennis is normally a fall sport, but organizers shifted it to the summer and onto N.C. State's courts this year. The move saves $7,000 from Special Olympics budget, because competitors are allowed to stay in N.C. States dormitories.

"Last time we had it in the fall, it was like 30 degrees, so it was pretty cold," Goodmyn said.

Despite the competition, athletes said personal interactions are among the most enjoyable aspects of the Special Olympics.

"I think the best thing that's ever happened to me is the friendships that I gained over the years," Goodmyn said.

Special Olympics North Carolina offers year-rounds sports to more than 38,000 adults and children with intellectual disabilities.

"I don't like the term, some terms people use for people with disabilities," Peedin said. "But they should know, they can do things. Just give them a chance."