What They’re Saying at 2019 Summer Games – Day 1

The first of two days of Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games action is in the books. The event brings together an assortment of people from across Southern California.

Here’s what a few of them had to say on Day 1:

“My favorite part is racing against people so I can challenge them.”

John Rojo, 23, track and field athlete from Whittier

“Good healthy fun, good teammates, and the coaches are nice to me.”

Baneh Mostafani, 38, basketball player for the Laguna Hills Hawks

Harlan Gathright

Harlan Gathright

“A friend of mine, 20-something years ago, asked me to [referee for Special Olympics competitions]. I had such a great experience and it’s always just had such a place in my heart. … It’s more like what basketball is supposed to be about.”

Harlan Gathright, volunteer basketball referee

“It is impressive. It’s quite an organization to put all of this together. It is a very friendly community. … [The athletes] are so welcoming. They seem to be happy to be here, and that’s the best thing.”

Claude White, first-year volunteer

“He’s developed a sense of friendship and teamwork [because of Special Olympics]. I’m full of love. I see him running and, for me, it’s like an open window [to] see that he can do what everybody can do.”

Emma Iglesias, grandmother of Special Olympics athlete Evan Williams

“Nobody is too small or insignificant, and everybody contributes. The kids and adults really enjoy it, of all ages and disabilities.”

Officer Crystal Burke-Potts

“I love to see their smiles and thrill of achievement.”

Ron Lucchesi, L.A. County Sheriff

“I’ve had athletes and parents come to me and say it really does make a difference when you make it just like every other sport and just as competitive.”

Christina Kirkman, fourth-year swim coach for Northern Santa Barbara County (Santa Maria), on treating her swimmers like athletes and no less

What They Were Saying on Social Media




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