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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Community to host Special Olympics Fall Classic

Photo by Provided

Special Olympic competitors participate in aquatics events at the 2016 Fall Classic.

Athletes are gearing up to go for the gold in the 2018 Bryan-College Station Special Olympics Fall Classic.
More than 1,700 athletes and 400 coaches are expected to participate in the event on Friday and Saturday. The Opening Ceremonies and Celebration Dance will kick off the weekend on Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Brazos Center. Due to inclement weather, there have been several changes to the schedule. Registration will be held on Thursday at the Courtyard Marriott at in College Station and will be open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Judy Yoshimaru is the director of volunteer services at the Bryan College Station Area 6 Special Olympics office. Yoshimaru said she was inspired to get involved after she volunteered at a competition and met the athletes.
“It kind of refreshes my mind and so it kind of reminds me what I’m working for and to work harder to make it a better event for them or a better program for them,” Yoshimaru said.
Yoshimaru has been involved as a Special Olympics volunteer for 11 years.
“I think that when people are aware of Special Olympics and what we offer to the athletes, it makes them aware of these people and their communities,” Yoshimaru said. “Our goal is not only to have them involved in sports activities, but also to have them become part of our everyday society.”
Psychology senior Abigail Flores is the president of the Aggie Special Olympics Texas Volunteers. The organization’s members volunteer at the Fall and Spring Classics in College Station and the Winter Classic in Austin.
“Every time I attend any of the games and watch the athletes compete, it never fails that I see the biggest smiles on all of their faces,” Flores said. “These athletes love being able to go out and compete in sports they’re passionate about and being able to make friends with not only their fellow athletes, but the volunteers as well.”
Thomas Jones is the communications directors for Texas Special Olympics. According to Jones, the number of athletes involved in Texas Special Olympics has grown exponentially since his involvement in the organization began. The Special Olympics now offers 22 different sports played by 58,884 athletes in the State of Texas.
“The whole Special Olympics movement is really about inclusion,” Jones said. “Special Olympics empowers both children and adults with [Intellectual Developmental Disabilities] to live life like anybody else and be accepted.”

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