In June 2014, Special Olympics South Carolina was pleased to send 168 athletes, coaches and Unified partners to the 2014 USA Games in Trenton, New Jersey. Team South Carolina joined teams from all 50 states for a week of intense sports competition.
Athletes have been training since last year for the Games and did very well in competition. We’d like to congratulate and acknowledge the athletes and coaches from our area who represented our state so well.
Miss Maddie Haag, 13, from West Columbia won two medals in Aquatics. She was one of the youngest members of Team SC and goes to Northside Middle School. She’s an active member of the Area 7 Silver Seals swim team.
She brought home a Silver 25 yd Backstroke and a Bronze for the 4 x 25 yd Freestyle Relay.
Alan Wells from Swansea loves to bowl. He’s been an athlete for 25 years and competes in bowling, bocce and track and field. This was his first trip to a national competition and he and his Unified Partner did great! Alan won Gold in singles bowling, he and his partner, Michael Dawkins of Swansea brought home a Gold in doubles and both brought home Bronze for the Unified Team competition.
Another talented duo from Lexington is Russ Olive and his caddie, Chad Wilkie. Russ, 24, placed 4th in 9-hole individual play in the golf competition. Wilkie got to know Russ from practicing at the Country Club of Lexington. They made a great team and played a pretty tough course. They were joined by fellow CCL member, BJ Head, who served as Assistant Golf Coach for the delegation.
It’s pretty special for an athlete to compete on the national level. It’s even better when they can compete with a family member. Athlete John Doudoukjian, III played Unified Tennis doubles with his dad, John Doudoukjian, Jr. “Little John” and “Big John” had been practicing hard since being selected. Not only did they win Gold in Unified Doubles, “Little” John won a Silver medal in singles competition.
The Doudoukjian’s weren’t the only team to bring home hardware. Their teammates and practice buddies, Demi Hiepner of Lexington and her partner, Nettie Howerin of Columbia won Silver in Unified Doubles and Demi won Gold in singles competition.
We have some terrific local coaches and educators that participate in our programs. One local high school teacher served as one of our Track and Field Coaches. Mr. Marty Mack is a PE teacher at Swansea High School. He signed on as one of the Assistant Coaches for the track and field team. On that team he had two local athletes from Swansea, Brenda Whitehead and Tony Deloach. Brenda placed 6th in the 100m run, 4th in the 200m run and 5th in the mini javelin. Tony brought home Bronze in the 200m walk, Silver in the mini javelin and 5th in shot put.
We all know we have some amazing athletes from our community but Team SC had the cream of the crop from right here! Congratulations to all of the athletes that competed in the 2014 USA Games.
For more information about Special Olympics South Carolina and ways to support local athletes, visit www.so-sc.org