On January 2-22, Elsie Marie participated in the State Special Olympics in Marietta, Georgia.
Marie took part in basketball team skills, where she demonstrated her ability to dribble, shoot, and pass.
“Elsie was the team captain, and it was a team combined of other Dekalb County athletes,” said special education teacher Susan Katz. “So it was Elsie and four or five other students from other schools that made a whole team.”
Maria claims she was happy and excited to win. She enjoys the game and taking part.
Special Olympics was founded in 1968. It provides persons with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to reach their potential through sports and physical activity, while meeting new people. Special Olympics Georgia reaches more than 27,110 athletes in 120 counties.
Anyone eight years of age and older and identified by a professional as having an intellectual disability may participate in Special Olympics.
It is year-round and offers twenty-five different sports, and there is no fee to participate. There are both Special Olympic World Summer and Winter Games held every four years, alternating every two years for summer and winter games.
Katz likes that her students benefit from the Special Olympics.
“It gives them the opportunity to be successful with something that they wouldn’t normally have access to,” said Katz. “They get to participate with other teams. It’s a good outlet for their social needs.”
Maria has participated in basketball at local Dekalb County Special Olympics. On February 24, Chamblee hosted a local Special Olympics game, where Chamblee won the volleyball game.
“There are three levels of events within the state,” said Katz. “One would be a local event, which would just be DeKalb County schools. We won local volleyball here at Chamblee. We’re going to Area Special Olympics, being us, Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale county. We’re doing that March 17. State Summer Games are in May, where I’ll take a small volleyball team or we’ll combine with another school and compete together as a team.”
Maria has participated in local, area, and summer games for the past two years. She claims she enjoys meeting new people and playing the sports.
“I want to continue to play,” said Maria.
Marie has not only won gold in basketball. She also earned a gold medal last summer.
“We did track and field,” said Maria.
Chamblee will go to the summer games on May 19 through May 21.