INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Tokyo Olympics aren’t the only event sports fans are waiting for.
the Special Olympics Indiana team is already preparing for its next summer Olympics in Orlando. It is a program for people with intellectual disabilities to compete at the local and state level.
Fifty Special Olympics Indiana athletes will represent the state.
This year’s Special Olympics Summer Games ended last month. Team members say returning to the game after the pandemic provides a new dose of motivation.
“Let me win but if I can’t win let me be brave in my attempt” is the motto of the Special Olympic Indiana team before every competition, and it’s something they believe in.
“It’s great to tell people that yes, I am also an Olympic athlete. It’s just a little different, but at the same time we are all athletes, ”said Melony Salla.
Salla is a multisport athlete with Special Olympics Indiana. She says you will find the same dynamism here as in the athletes competing in Tokyo.
“We train like regular track athletes, any athlete for that matter,” said Salla.
She participates in the 400-meter walk, relay, javelin and bowling. She started at 12 years old.
“In my life, I’ve been told that you can’t do this because you have a disability. No, I actually can. It may take us a little longer to do it or learn to do it, but once we get the hang of it, we 110% do it, ”Salla said.
Scott Furnish works with Special Olympics and plays a role in organizing competitions and getting athletes to where they need to go. The association has existed for more than 10 years.
“[Salla] is a star; she’s modest here, but she’s fantastic at what she does. She’s a great athlete-leader, ”said Furnish.
“Beyond sport, our athletes have a voice and they can tell you exactly what it means to lead this movement and be a part of something bigger than us,” Furnish added.
Salla hasn’t quite picked her favorite, but says she will watch the Tokyo Olympics as she contemplates her next competition. The team continues to raise funds to prepare for next year’s Special Olympics Summer Games. The biggest fundraiser will be a plane pull on september 11.