What They’re Saying at 2018 Summer Games – Day 1

Summer Games always brings out a number of fearless athletes, selfless volunteers and great moments. Here’s what the competitors, spectators, and more, had to say Saturday at Day 1 of the 2018 Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games at Cal State Long Beach.

Athletes

“[Special Olympics] changed my life in middle school.”

Ben Watts, 24, basketball player from Santa Barbara who carried in the torch

Antwan Jones

Antwan Jones

“I enjoy being with my team, it’s a great feeling. The fact that we won two games today was a very beautiful feeling.”

Antwan Jones, basketball player for South Central Los Angeles Avengers

“I didn’t know anybody, and then all of a sudden I got involved with Special Olympics and I started meeting new friends. … I see Special Olympics as one giant family.”

Penny Dalton, 29, track and field athlete from Kern County

 

Family, Volunteers and Fans

“It’s always an honor. It doesn’t take much (to get the crowd pumped up) because our athletes are so enthusiastic.”

Derrin Horton, 49, KTLA anchor and Opening Ceremony emcee

Rosener family

Rosener family

“We are here to be Fans in the Stands. I love watching it. I think it’s really fun to watch.”

Holly Rosener, who attended with her family of 8 from Fontana

“There’s a lot of pride in what we do. People don’t realize what it takes to put on a production this size so seamlessly for the athletes.”

Matthew Reznick, support services volunteer working his 22nd Summer Games

“She’s played a lot of different sports since she’s been with Special Olympics. She learned her independence through Special Olympics, and it teaches them sportsmanship and how to make friends. It’s so much more than playing sports.”

Paul McFall and Debbie Sylvia, parents of Krystal Sylvia, basketball player for South Bay Torrance and an athlete for 16 years

Beryle Jackson and Eve

Beryle Jackson, right, and her daughter Eve who also volunteered

“What really drew me was the hugging, the huggers for the athletes, and giving them high-fives and praises.”

-Beryle Jackson, volunteer from the FBI who recalled her first experience with Special Olympics as an eighth grader in Washington D.C.

Coaches

“The first time I saw [my son] run a race, I was just a puddle. I was in tears all over the place. I knew after that I wanted to be a part of Special Olympics.”

Ron Russell, 57, San Gabriel Valley track and field coach on memories that stand out

“This was my first sport, and as of yesterday I’ve become a bowling coach. Then, I plan on coaching softball in August. … Just interacting with all the athletes, it’s been a blast.”

Thomas Purpus, Antelope Valley flag football coach

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