450 Special Olympics athletes compete in Saskatoon after two-year pause

Click to play video: '450 Special Olympic athletes compete in track after two year pause' 450 Special Olympic athletes compete in track after two year pause
WATCH: After being canceled for the last two years, the day-long track and field qualifier for Special Olympics athletes was again held at E.D. Feehan Catholic High School in Saskatoon. – May 27, 2022

Smiles, laughs and cheers encompassed the fields at E.D. Feehan Catholic High School in Saskatoon as Special Olympics athletes competed in a qualifying track meet, complete with T-ball and bocce.

“It was so much fun and I get to learn everything,” said Special Olympian Tatianna Roulette.

Feehan has been hosting the event for more than 40 years, with a pause in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Welcoming athletes back after two years of pandemic-related cancellations fueled volunteer excitement.

Read more: Grandfather of Special Olympian embarks on virtual walk across Canada

“We have about 70 staff that have been working for weeks to prepare for this meet and we have 500 students who are all here today to help … to run the events and to just make it a really special day for the athletes,” principal Krista Hayes said.

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At least 450 athletes aged five and up from the Saskatoon area competed, making Friday’s event the biggest the school has ever hosted.

“It’s known as the best day ever at E.D. Feehan,” Hayes said. “It’s such an honor for us to be able to serve and give back to the community and support our Special Olympic athletes in their future endeavors.”

Click to play video: 'Support for Special Olympics' Support for Special Olympics
Support for Special Olympics – May 27, 2022

The day is one the competitors very much look forward to as well.

“Anytime they get a chance to perform, compete, to participate, to do all of that stuff, it’s just another chance show ‘I want to compete and I want to be included,'” Special Olympics Saskatchewan youth coordinator Chris Hamilton said.

Read more: Twelve Manitobans to receive province’s top honour in July

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Win or lose, competitors lived up to the Special Olympics athlete oath: Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

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