There was a lot special about today's Special Olympics and it wasn't necessarily about the competition. Glee actress Lauren Powell, from Riverside and born with Down Syndrome, made a visit to USC and spent time with athletes, families, and coaches. "I love them; They're amazing” was how she put it. And you probably heard of former NBA player Jason Collins, from Northridge.
He inspired a lot of people by becoming the first pro athlete to ''come out'', but he was the one inspired while visiting the Special Olympic athletes on campus. "It's a joy to my heart", he told me, "just to see athletes compete just for the sake of competing, just to have fun with the sport."
A lot was happening in and around their visits today. I spent a lot of time in the ''Healthy Athlete's" area, a program which offers free medical, hearing, oral, foot exams, and other services, free of charge to all the athletes. They've seen 70% of them, so far, with tomorrow to go. They could go home with a free pair of glasses, new athletic shoes, a hearing aid, and more. All good.
More things that make the Special Olympics truly a one of a kind event.