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Special Olympic athletes work to break personal best during Summer Games

By Blake Summers

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    NASHVILLE (WSMV) — While the Olympics may be happening in Tokyo, there is a group of Olympians here in Middle Tennessee stealing the spotlight.

Special Olympics summer games have taken off in Nashville with the power lifting event.

“They’re always trying to achieve their personal best,” said Joanne Drumright with the Middle Tennessee Special Olympics.

The local Olympians will begin with weight a little below what they have achieved previously and work their way to beating their own personal records in lifting.

“So, their first lift may be 20 to 30 pounds under what their person best will be and what they have done best and their goal is to go over their best lift,” says Drumright.

For Tara Cheatham, this is her 5th year working with these athletes, and she says it gets better and better every year.

“The first year we were just getting to know them a little bit and getting to know their special needs and making sure we’re accommodating that and respecting that and the first year was good and then that 2nd, 3rd, 4th each year just gets better and better,” said Cheatham.

During the event, in between the weights dropping and clanking together, you’ll hear nothing more than cheers and encouragement like, “Come on, come on, come on!” in the foreground.

“They have abilities that go over and above what people expect from them and we want those abilities to shine and that’s what we want to focus on is their ability,” said Drumright.

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