Young athletes are special part of 2014 Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games

Thousands of athletes competed on Thursday during the second day of the 2014 Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games. The competitions continue through Friday.
by Adam Kemp Published: May 15, 2014
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photo - Children grab a piece of a multi-colored fabric and toss varying size balls onto it, then tug on it to raise and lower the balls. These children are participating in activities on 'Stars of the Future' area south of Boone Pickens Stadium on the Oklahoma State University campus on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Special Olympics athletes numbering in the thousands are competing in various events today and tomorrow  in Stillwater as the organization's 45th Annual Summer Games are held in Oklahoma this week.  Officials say more than 4,600 Special Olympics Oklahoma athletes have registered to compete this year, and thousands of volunteers are assisting during the three days of competitions.   This is the 31st year the summer games has been centered at Oklahoma State University.  Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries, according to their web site. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Children grab a piece of a multi-colored fabric and toss varying size balls onto it, then tug on it to raise and lower the balls. These children are participating in activities on 'Stars of the Future' area south of Boone Pickens Stadium on the Oklahoma State University campus on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Special Olympics athletes numbering in the thousands are competing in various events today and tomorrow in Stillwater as the organization's 45th Annual Summer Games are held in Oklahoma this week. Officials say more than 4,600 Special Olympics Oklahoma athletes have registered to compete this year, and thousands of volunteers are assisting during the three days of competitions. This is the 31st year the summer games has been centered at Oklahoma State University. Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries, according to their web site. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Running and jumping, throwing beanbags, shooting baskets and tossing bouncy balls on a parachute, Carter Sudberry couldn’t be stopped.

As he lined up again and again at each station to compete in yet another event at the Rising Stars Competition, Sudberry’s parents stood behind him in their bright pink “Team Carter” shirts with smiles plastered on their faces and tears in their eyes.

When Carter was born he was diagnosed with agenesis of the corpus callosum, a rare birth defect that means Carter was born without 90 percent of the center of his brain.

Doctors called him a vegetable when he was born, telling Tina and Blake Sudberry that Carter wouldn’t be able sit up, let alone walk, run and speak.

“He’s beat every odd they’ve thrown at him,” Tina Sudberry said. “It’s a pure joy seeing him out here. We are constantly amazed by him.”

Thousands of other athletes competed Thursday during the second day of the 2014 Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games. The competitions continue through Friday.

Nearly 2,000 children competed Thursday in the “Stars of the Future” competition, which is designed to give athletes younger than age 8 a chance to experience all the fun of the games through events such as soccer, hula hoop, bubble blowing and miniature golf.

The competitors gathered under a bright blue sky on the practice field of the Sherman E. Smith Training Center, just outside the walls of Boone Pickens Stadium. Conditions couldn’t have been better for some of the first-time Special Olympians.

“We are just absolutely blown away by all these events and the sense of community,” said Sarah Ingalls, of Yukon, who was bringing her son Cody for the first time. “You always hear what a wonderful event this truly is, but until you experience it firsthand and see the smiles on all these faces, you can’t truly understand how much it means to everyone.”

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by Adam Kemp
Enterprise Reporter
Adam Kemp is an enterprise reporter and videographer for the Oklahoman and Newsok.com. Kemp grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma State University. Kemp has interned for the Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Gazette and covered Oklahoma State...
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“He’s beat every odd they’ve thrown at him. It’s a pure joy seeing him out here. We are constantly amazed by him.”

Tina Sudberry

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