A grand send-off for athletes

‘Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ — Special Olympics oath

Nick Olson carries the torch during the parade Thursday morning. Olson ran along with members of local law enforcement to deliver the torch to the ceremony at the middle school.

Dozens of Special Olympics athletes from all over Hamilton County gathered Thursday morning for a lively send-off to the Special Olympics Summer Games.

Athletes from South Hamilton Schools, Sunset Heights, Webster City Middle School and High School and Friends Forever Social Education Center marched into Jefferson Gym to the strains of the Olympic Theme Song. The bleachers were filled with their fellow students of all ages, parents and family members. Becky Laube, a global messenger for Special Olympics, led the athletes in reciting the Special Olympics oath.

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Each team then had a representative introduce themselves, talk about their athletic events and what they enjoyed about the Special Olympics.

Also in attendance were many members of local law enforcement who took part in the official torch run through the community.

Following the ceremony, the athletes paraded through the streets of Webster City. All along the route, students and community members gathered to wish the students well as they prepared to travel to the Summer Games in Ames. The games opened Thursday night at Hilton Coliseum and will continue through Saturday.

According to the Special Olympics Iowa website, more that 2,600 athletes and 1,200 coaches are expected to attend the event in Ames.