The Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games Arrives in Springfield
The Flame of Hope has made it to Springfield.
The torch for the Special Olympics Missouri State Sumer Games will make its appearance at tonight's Opening Ceremonies in Springfield.
The games kicked off today with a soccer match involving three teams competing for gold.
KSMU's Erika Brame was there and files this report.
Coach Stan Smith is from Cape Girardeau and has been a part of the Special Olympics program for 20 years.
He stands 5'8 wearing a bright orange polo shirt which matches the Hurricanes uniforms.
They're a team of soccer players visiting Springfield for the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games.
The Hurricanes score another goal, and they win the first game.
Smith coaches a lot of athletes in a lot of the sports offered at the games.
He says his athletes go through basic training to get here.
"Well we condition some. But we do a lot of drills, basic drills for whatever sport we are participating in. For example with soccer we just work on dribbling and passing and shooting the ball."
Some of his athletes have been a part of the games for several years now.
Lucas Blattel is a five year veteran with a learning disability.
Blattel says he'd never thought about the sport before one of his teachers told him about the games and started him in soft ball.
"I never played it before and I thought it might be fun to play. I like to run and it gets me exercise. I get to be with ... and play with other people and stuff."
His soccer team will go on to play for the gold medal.
The Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games brings over 1,500 athletes and coaches to compete in events such as soccer, track and field, and aquatics.
The Opening Ceremonies is tonight at the Plaster Sports Complex on the Missouri State University Campus at 7:30.
The competition runs through Friday.
For more information about the games you can go to our website: ksmu dot org.
For KSMU News I'm Erika Brame.