MEDINA, Ohio — Athletes from several Northeast Ohio counties laced up and got back in the game this weekend at the 38th annual Special Olympics Ohio Medina Invitational. More than 200 people from 11 area programs competed in track and field events, volleyball, tennis, bocce and powerlifting.
“It’s helping them cope with every day activities and how to be a stand up person and how to support other people," said Paula Majoros, the facilities and activities manager for the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The annual event is back this year after athletes were forced to the sidelines last year due to the pandemic.
"We're are incredibly excited to be back here today," said President and CEO of Special Olympics Ohio, Jessica Stewart. "There's way more people here than I thought so that's really exciting."
Before events started on Saturday, three athletes were surprised with some good news from Majoros.
Ashley Shook, Dominic Vadini and Lea Wilson were all selected to compete in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida. The three will be representing team Ohio. Shook will compete in tennis, Wilson in volleyball and Vadini will powerlift.
"This is really special. I’m shocked actually," said Wilson.
"I am just so excited beyond belief... I was just almost in tears I was shocked," said Shook.
“This is like a once in a lifetime dream for me. This is so amazing," Vadini said.
The Special Olympics USA Games are scheduled for June 5-10.
Bocce and powerlifting events will continue on Sunday in Medina.