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The Children's Center in Bethany holds its own Olympics

What counted Thursday at The Children's Center was what is supposed to count in London. According to the Olympic creed, the important things is not to win but to take part.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 9, 2012

BETHANY — Kimberly Morris' iPhone zoomed in on her son, recording 9-year-old Zakery as he came down the stretch of the TCC 500.

Zakery was in his wheelchair, hitting a switch that caused a toy duck to waddle along atop a table. When the duck reached the finish line, the time would be recorded, because that's what they do in the Olympics.

Even The Children's Center Olympics.

Step aside, London. You're not only the Olympiad that can get excited over games that may or not may not have rules we can easily understand. Not the only Olympiad where results are questioned.

“He would have won first place,” Zakery's mom said with a smile, “but the chicken gave up on him.” I think it was a duck, but who's really counting?

What counted Thursday at The Children's Center was what is supposed to count in London.

The Olympic creed proclaims: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee and author of the Olympic creed, would have been proud to be in Bethany this week, where this magical place staged its own Olympics.

The Children's Center is a private, pediatric hospital serving kids with complex medical and physical disabilities. And this week, the home of bowling, the PowerLift, tug-of-war, catapult and the smile-a-thon, among other notable events that trump synchronized swimming.

Twenty-one-month-old Taliya, in a wheelchair and on a portable ventilator, took 32 seconds to pick up a block. But on her next try in the PowerLift, she took just three seconds.

Then Taliya recorded a seven in the smile-a-thon. She smiled seven times in a minute. And you wished you could see Usain Bolt run the 100-meter dash.

“To me, it means hope and opportunity,” Taliya's father, Troy McDaniel said of The Children's Center. “Opportunity for her to get the advanced treatment she needs and hurry back home.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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