Local News

Volunteers Prepare North Carolina Cities for Special Olympics World Games

Posted June 18, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The1999 Special Olympics World Summer Gamesfocus on the athletes and the unique spirit of competition that theSpecial Olympicsis known for. The games will also shine an international spotlight on North Carolina, and volunteers are working hard to make sure the Triangle puts its best foot forward.

The games begin June 26th, and the athletes are pumped up.

"It is challenging and it gives a person a great feeling to be a part of something of this magnitude," says Wayne Cotton, a Team USA athlete.

Twelve athletes from Orange County are on Team USA. Well-wishers are busy signing posters to hang in the athletes' dorm rooms. They want the athletes to know they will be in the stands cheering them on.

A pep rally was held in Orange County to show support for the Special Olympics athletes.

"We wanted to have a community-wide pep rally to celebrate all our athletes," explains Colleen Lanigan. "We also wanted to highlight the fact that we have local programs that are thriving in every community."

AtCary Academy, dancers are practicing their performance for the opening ceremonies. More than 200 performers will take the stage before a full crowd at Carter-Finley Stadium.

"It's really awesome that [the organizers] can provide an opportunity for people to volunteer and to help with the Special Olympics because I've always wanted to and never really knew what I could do," says dancer Beth Therrell.

Just down the road, volunteers are helping keep Cary beautiful for the thousands of visitors the Special Olympics will bring. Nearly 100 volunteers spent their Saturday morning picking up trash along eight miles of roads.

"We have company coming, and usually when you have company coming you want to clean up." says organizer Tim Brayboy.

The World Summer Games will bring 7,000 athletes from 150 countries to the Triangle.