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Athletes hope to inspire as Special Olympics Games begin

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jun 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-11 12:16:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Opening Ceremony for Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games was held outdoors at the University of Richmond Robins Stadium for the first time ever.

Officers with the Law Enforcement Torch Run carried the Flame of Hope to light the Olympic Cauldron Friday night.

It marked the end of their seven day 1,900 mile journey across the state.

Lonnie New has participated in Special Olympics for 25 years.

When asked his favorite sport he replied, “I'd have to say swimming seems like I impress the ladies that way.”

Friday, New had an impressive track and field win. He won gold in the mini javelin.

“It means a whole lot more than words can describe,” New said.

The athlete said wants to inspire others and teach people about the games.

“I enjoy doing it but it also gives me a chance to show people in the community that even though we have a disability we're still human beings just like they are, but a whole lot of people don't understand,” he said.

Athletes compete in several sports Saturday including swimming, softball, track and field, bowling, bocce, and tennis.

“Honestly I wish more people would come and join us because I feel like there would be more positive effect on everybody not just the athletes but those in the community and maybe people would have a better understanding about people with disabilities,” New added.

For a schedule of events click here.