Special Olympic Summer Games come to a close in Utica

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A joy filled weekend in Utica come to a close, as hundreds of special athletes brought their joy to Central New York. The 2011 New York State Special Olympic Summer Games wrapped up Sunday morning with a sendoff breakfast at Utica College's Clark Athletic Center.

The athletes and coaches seem to have so much fun competing, and really bring the true spirit of the competition to light.

Some of the coaches have been coaching these very special athletes for twenty, even thirty years. Ken Hathaway says his son is mentally challenged and has participated in the basketball competition for years, and he has been the head coach for more than 20 years. He said, "to watch the athletes over the years progress it's been a lot of fun and real rewarding."

Andrea Jones-Lefeber says she just loves each and every one of these athletes. She said, "I love how hard they try and how they never give up, and the spirit is the true spirit that they have for the game."

Local tourism officials say besides a lot of joy, the Special Olympic Games bring thousands of dollars in revenue each year to the region.

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