Unified Special Olympics School Day Games held in Northampton - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Unified Special Olympics School Day Games held in Northampton

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

It's a milestone year for the Special Olympics, celebrating 50 years of existence. 

Throughout that time, events have been held giving kids with disabilities a chance to play and today, history was made in Northampton.

Relay races, bowling, obstacle courses, you name it, the kids there can do it.

The Unified Special Olympics School Day Games were held for the first time ever at Northampton High School

Over 200 students participated.  Among them was 17-year-old Rachel Bishop.

Bishop and her pal, Sammy, got the honor of kicking off the games with the presentation of the torch.  

Bishop told Western Mass News that it all took her by surprise.

"I thought that we were just going to have a normal conversation.  Geno asked Rachel and Sammy 'Do you want to do the torch?' and I went like, really? and we both said yes at the exact same time," Bishop said.

The unified games allow any athlete, with or without disabilities, to compete. 

Bishop said that that's a great thing and in her eyes, it doesn't matter who wins.

"It's not about you, you, you, you, you.  It's about us, us, us, us, us," Bishop said.

Bishop, along with others, cheered on competitor after competitor.

It wasn't just spectators up in the crowd who were cheering these athletes on.  Along the track, they competed on signs that say "You can do it" and "You're the best" - all encouraging the athletes on.

Sneaking onto the field for a closer look is a woman named Lore Detenber.  She's the proud aunt of a young man named Taylor, who needs a walker to get around.  She said, though, don't let that fool you.

"He gets to go for speed.  In fact, as he was running, he had a helper run with him and he was hollering to his helper, 'You gotta keep up,'" Detenber explained.

Taylor's fan club didn't end there either.  Also cheering him on was his best buddy, Jazmine Kasperzyk, who said that this winner isn't just about himself.

"He is a very kind person and loves to talk to people and ask people how their day is," Kasperzyk noted.

Unifying, just like the games.

"It's not just yourself that's supposed to win.  It's other people.  The whole world is supposed to win," Bishop added.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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