The sun brought a glow to the purple T-shirts worn by athletes, coaches and volunteers who crowded the football field at Westminster High School yesterday for the Carroll County Special Olympics Area Spring Games.
The day began with a parade for the 187 athletes, who competed while families, coaches, teachers, former teachers and county officials watched and cheered.
The athletes, who ranged in age from 8 to 52, participated in events including the 50-, 100-, 200-, and 400-meter runs, the softball throw, the standing and running long jumps, the shot put, the 25-meter walk, and manual and motorized wheelchair events.
For Kelly Moore, 12, the Olympics provided a chance to show off her love of running in the 50-meter run and the 25-meter walk.
"She's been doing real well this year," said Chris Brandenburg, Kelly's teacher at Robert Moton Elementary School.
The athletes came from 17 training programs in the county. Robert Moton, with 44 athletes, had more participants than any other school.
At the center of the events was a podium where medals and ribbons were presented. About 40 participants, most of them gold-medal winners, will go to the Maryland Special Olympics next month at Towson State University.
Kelly's grandparents, Karl and Mary Keller, had their camera ready to capture Kelly in action. Whether she won a medal or not, they said, they were happy to be there.
"There are no losers in these events," he said.
In addition to family members, athletes were assisted by volunteers called FANs (for friends and neighbors support) who got them to matches on time, made sure they had lunch and provided encouragement.
Most FANs were Westminster High School students, including Nicole Clare, 17, who hopes to become a special education teacher. Through the school's Career Connections program, she spends half-days at Robert Moton.
Kim Petry, special education assistant at Robert Moton, said many former special education teachers return to support the event and to watch former students compete.
"This is one of the biggest days in their lives," she said. "This is like a vacation for them."
Jim Bullock, assistant principal at Runnymede Elementary School since 1993, was a motor development specialist for 15 years at Robert Moton. He attends every year.
Pub Date: 5/01/97