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Special Olympics athletes find joy in Merrill
MERRILL - Going on a run is a chore for most of us, but a gift for participants in the Special Olympics.

"It felt really good," participant Adam Domino said. "It felt awesome."

More than 200 athletes chased that feeling at the Special Olympics regional track and field meet in Merrill.

Cheryl Johnson-Domino and her son Adam have come to this event for the last 20 years.

"The first time that he did this, it was really overwhelming because he didn't really know what to expect," Johnson-Domino said. "I didn't know what to expect, but we made a lot of friends and everyone is like family to us.

In a world that so often misunderstands people with disabilities, the Special Olympics hope to provide a space for acceptance.

"They can be themselves," Johnson-Domino said. "They don't have to worry about being accepted. They can let themselves shine.

"Just because they're disabled does not mean that they're not human," volunteer Brittney Wenzelow said. "They're just as much of a human as you and me."

They're every bit as competitive too, as they jumped and sprinted toward a spot in the state meet.

"I did the triple-javelin, which is where you throw a big arrow, and I got a first-place finish," Domino said.

But no matter where an athlete finished, someone was there to cheer them on.

The state special Olympics meet will be next month in Stevens Point.

That's part of the state summer games, which draws more than a thousand athletes.

Story By: Andrew Goldstein


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