Special Olympics Basketball Tournament Kicks Off

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 04/12 2014 06:12PM

Updated 04/12 2014 06:19PM

BURLINGTON, Vt.- The Special Olympics spring sports are in full swing. Saturday hundreds of athletes from around Vermont began a weekend long basketball tournament.

“We're going to go first place!,” said Brooke Benson, an athlete with the Randolph Basketball program.

“Just like playing for the team, to help them out and to have a good time,” said Jesse Orr, an athlete with the Randolph Basketball program.

Hundreds of Special Olympics athletes brought their ‘A’ game to UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium for the annual basketball tournament.

“We've had three great months of practice and it gives them something to do every week and something to look forward too. But this is really the statewide effort to bring all the athletes together,” said Karen Warner, Randolph Basketball Program Coordinator. 

For Warner’s team, the weekend competition started off with a bang!

“Both our teams won our first games, so we are having a good day!,” said Waner.

Athletes competed in individual shooting and dribbling events, as well the traditional basketball game
But Warner says the games are about more than the competition.

“More than anything this is about teaching these guys how to work together within a community, whatever your abilities are so that’s the most important thing is that they have fun and they are good to each other,” said Warner.

“Like our athlete oath says, let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” said Chris Langevine, the Sports Manager for Special Olympics Vermont.

A motto all athletes take to heart.

“Basketball is a good sport to play with competition, everybody likes to have fun,” said Christopher Preston, an athlete with the Chittenden Basketball program.

“I like to be with all my friends and play with them, I love my team,” said Benson.

The tournament continues Sunday at UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium.  The games run until 4 PM.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.