Local News

Athletes Take the World Stage on the Internet

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RALEIGH — There is a lot of buzz about theSpecial Olympics World Gamesand the athletes in the Triangle. However, fans and families around the world are relying on the Internet to keep up with events.

Athletes, with the help ofAmerica Online, are also building their own Web sites with facts, pictures and competition results.

The AOL tent at the World Games Festival is a beehive of activity. Stephanie Connelly of Monroe, Ga., came into the tent wearing her gold medal for the 10K run. Kodak employees shot a digital picture, then Connelly told the people from AOL what she wanted on her Web site.

"Run hard and stay focused, and bring the gold home," Connelly told the AOL worker.

The Web sites will be available to people around the world on the Internet, and will educate people, not just about Special Olympics, but about mental retardation.

"What we're finding is they do understand computers and technology and the Internet," said Ina Feinberg, the AOL project manager," and we're so glad to be a part of it and the education process."

Connelly, her mother and sister watched as the site was completed. More than 100 athletes have taken advantage of building sites and hundreds more are expected to take part.

"I think they're amazed that it's going to be online," Feinberg said. "The world is there to see them. I mean they're saying, 'Oh, my gosh. There's my picture, there's me and the world is going to see me.'"

Each athlete is given a printout of his or her Web site, making it easier to pass the Internet address along to family and friends.

WRAL will broadcast nightly specials from 7:30 to 8 p.m. through Friday night. You can also catch a five-minute recap of the day's happenings every night after WRAL's 11:00 News. You can also watch it all on WRAL OnLine.

Traffic will no doubt be affected by the World Games. For updates throughout the day, you can checkTriangle Traffic. Some roads have been closed until the Games end, including Dan Allen Drive, Cates Avenue and Morrill Street, all in Raleigh.

The World Games run through July 4.


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