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Athletes, volunteers prepare for Special Olympics

This weekend, about 300 local athletes will take to the track, court and pool to compete in the East Idaho Regional Special Olympics.

One athlete is Vanessa Hicks. She has competed in the Special Olympics for several years. This year, she will run the 50 meter and 100 meter, and do the softball throw. Hicks is also one of eight Idahoans selected to compete at nationals in New Jersey.

Corbin Southam plays hockey and basketball. He has won several medals, which he wears every day. His basketball team plays alongside Unified Partners.

“We have athletes who are in wheelchairs; we have wheelchair races; we have athletes who have to have helpers even in aquatics. We have flotation races; we have assisted races, and then we go from that up to full-on unified racing,” said Holly Giglio, regional director.

Before athletes take their mark or dive in, they have a torch run.

“The athletes actually march in just like the Olympics, we have an opening ceremony, and they start their competition,” said Giglio.

It doesn’t cost athletes to play, so Special Olympics relies on volunteers.

“If you want to be a timer, a stager, work in awards, you can assign that to yourself once you are a registered volunteer. If you haven’t, you can still come out to the event and sign up as a day-of volunteer,” said Giglio.

To volunteer:

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