FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- In less than a month, the Special Olympics Spring Games will make a return to Fayetteville. The games are coming back to the All-American City for the first time in five years; the event will take place at Methodist University.
Organizer Benjamin Kowalczyk says the games were disrupted for so many years in part due to COVID-19. But he's excited that athletes will finally get a chance to come back and strut their stuff.
"It's a lot of hard work. They practice for weeks and weeks and weeks before they end up going to the Special Olympics Games where they're being held that year," Kowalczyk said. "And it's just, it's a lot for them to push themselves and to really get into shape and compete on a state level."
Organizers expect about 100 athletes if not more will come out to compete in Fayetteville. They will have a variety of events to choose from including running, throwing, and jumping. There will also be a fun tent for children. Kowalczyk said it's rewarding to see athletes with special needs triumph in the games---noting it shatters stigmas, too:
"It really does shine a light on for some people. It will shine a light to show them that, you know, these are athletes just like any other. These are you know, these people have goals and dreams and are very capable of achieving those," he said. "So for a lot of people, yeah, it is an eye opener and it's a welcome one."
For anyone who wants to help make this year's games a massive success, there are still opportunities to volunteer for Fayetteville's Special Olympics. Organizers encourage them to visit the Games' website for North Carolina to sign up.