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Over 1,100 Special Olympians compete in State Finals

Posted: 10:52 AM, Nov 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-19 15:52:07Z

Athletes from Special Olympics Michigan flocked to the Capitol on Sunday, marking the second highest turnout for the Special Olympics State Finals for Poly Hockey and Bowling..

But the competition wasn't just all about getting the gold.

"I love this game. I really love it," Nicholas Owel, who was competing in Poly Hockey said.

All of the athletes' hard work finally was paying off at the Special Olympics State Finals for Poly Hockey and Bowling. Over 1,100 athletes from 49 counties across Michigan made their way to Lansing to take part, and show off their skills. Among the teams were the Parson's Predators from Holt.

"We've worked, we've practiced like 10 to 12 weeks leading up to this event. They want to participate, they want to win those medals and they are going to do their best to get their gold medal," coach and parent Tammy Parson's said.

"The experience is actually pretty fun, I get to meet new players once in a while and meet other players. But we have a great time," Owel said.

But it's more than winning and losing, it's about including everyone and providing a place for the athletes to do what they love.

"Its really sport at its best form. They're here because they enjoy the sport and the love the sport. Winning isn't the most important thing to them. They're here to play and have fun and compete and get to know their peers. And seeing that happen is really awesome," Nick Caudle, Senior Manager for Sports and Training for Special Olympics Michigan said.

There are over 27,000 Special Olympians in Michigan participating in 24 different sports.