Local News

Friday Action Leaves World Games Records, Hearts Broken

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RALEIGH — Some of the athletes WRAL profiled this past week are medal winners in their competitions. Here's an update on how they scored, and a wrap-up of Friday's competition.

Golf: Thursday, WRAL introduced the McKenna Brothers of Team USA-Massachusetts. The golf duo won the gold medal for the Unified Team.

Unified competition partners athletes with and without mental disabilities who have the same athletic ability.

Golfer Kevin Erickson of Team USA-Wisconsin, broke a Special Olympics world record when he shot a 78 Wednesday. PGA golfer Nick Price sent Erickson a special signed flag to congratulate him.

Erickson was expected to walk away with the gold medal, but was upset by Konrad Zastrau of South Africa. Konrad shot an 82 for the gold medal, Erickson shot a 100 for the silver. Konrad said he wanted to upset Erickson so he could be on TV.

Football (Soccer): The Guadeloupe soccer team came to the Games with very little equipment. Crabtree Valley Mall and owners of Foot Action paid for new shoes for each member of the team. The news shoes helped the Guadeloupe team kick their way to a fifth place ribbon.

Softball: The Dominican Republic took on Panama Friday night. The stands were packed and other teams poured in to watch the two teams, who are in a division of their own because they are so talented.

There have been a lot of other exciting games played at the softball venue at Walnut Creek. The Unified North Carolina Team, which was struggling to make it into the gold round, won both of their games Thursday night and Friday morning to make it to the finals.

Friday night, Team USA-North Carolina lost 11-1. The team is already in the final round, which will be played Saturday night at 6 p.m.

Powerlifting: A Special Olympics record was set Friday in weightlifting.

Georgia's P.G. Griffin weighs a fraction of the steel he stepped-up to and lifted off the floor.

The deadlift goes into the record books at 649 pounds -- one of the biggest lifts in Special Olympics World Games history.

Powerlifting is the ultimate strength sport. Different from weightlifting, it is a test of pure, brute strength.

The sport comprises of three lifts -- squat, bench press and deadlift. The first powerlifting competition debuted in the World Games back in 1987, with only 27 athletes participating. Today that number has grown with 208 athletes competing in the 1999 summer games.

Bowling: The pins were tumbling Friday in Raleigh at the Special Olympics Bowling Tournament.

Athletes from 33 countries showed off their skills. Team USA-California, Bermuda and Ireland competed in the doubles competition. Team Ireland was awarded the bronze medal, athletes from Bermuda will take home the silver, and Team USA won an eighth place ribbon.

The gold medal was awarded to Team Croatia.

Basketball Special Olympics basketball players heading into final rounds Saturday got a special coaching session. Former UNC star player, and current Assistant Coach Phil Ford volunteered his time to go over the fine points of the game.

We'll see if his tips payoff in the medal rounds, which start Saturday at the Dean Smith center at 8 a.m.

Track and Field: One hundred women competed in the long jump finals at Raleigh's Paul Derr Track. After a running start the athletes land in a sandy pit. Their jumps are measured from the spot where they touch the sand first.

The record so far at the 1999 World Games for the long-jump is 6.5 feet. Friday Billy Hollieway from Team USA-Texas won the Gold Medal. The silver went to Lisa Hallmen Team USA-South Dakota, Monica Gallardo-Lubbe, of Team Chile got the Bronze.

Cary to Close Roads for Cycling Event: Motorists are asked to avoid Chatham and Academy Streets in Downtown Cary Friday evening. Crews will begin closing off the area to traffic at 6:00 p.m. in preparation for the Saturday morning Special Olympics World Summer Games road cycling event.

Motorists who must travel through the area are advised to use the alternate route of Harrison and Dry avenues. The Downtown area will remain closed through much of the day Saturday.

Closing Ceremonies Tickets Available to General Public:

The general public can now get tickets to the closing ceremonies of the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium is getting ready for Sunday night's farewell to the world.

Durham residents had the first chance to get the free tickets. Non-Durham residents can now go by the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to pick up tickets. Tickets will not be available at Wallace Wade Stadium the night of the ceremonies.


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