TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Features

June 2, 2014

Going for the Gold

Extraordinary athletes, extraordinary day

CORBIN — By Bobbie Poynter / Features Editor

Tisha Duncan received a gold medal at Saturday’s slalom event. Neither she, the spectators, nor those waiting at the finish line seemed to notice or even care that it took her a whopping 78 seconds to get there or that her feet never once touched the ground. All anyone cared about was that she put everything she had into finishing the Wheelchair Slalom Race.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the top three finishers in each of the games at Saturday’s Extraordinary Olympic Challenge held at the First Baptist Church in London. But, the awards ceremony was only icing on the cake, as these determined athletes were inspired before and during each game by cheers and shouts of encouragement, and then by the love and hugs showered on each of them at the conclusion of each competition.

Each of the athletes was either physically or mentally challenged to some degree. They ranged from as young as 4 all the way to age 89. Athletes came from as far away as Mount Vernon, Jackson County, Harlan and even Pineville to participate in the 2nd annual Professional Home Health Extraordinary Olympic Challenge.

Saturday’s games were each structured toward the specific needs and abilities of the competitors. Competitions included track and field for runners, walkers, and even wheelchairs, softball distance throwing, shotput and free-throw basketball shooting. For those athletes who were mobility challenged or who could simply not handle the heat of the outdoors, there were developmental games, such as mini-cornhole, toddler basketball throw, tennis ball rolling and even a scaled-down version of Twister. There were even competitive card games for those participants who couldn’t compete physically.

The number of registered athletes more than tripled this year over last year’s event. But then, so did the number of volunteers, who could be found at the registration desk signing everyone in, adding chairs to the spectators’ area, running a stopwatch, cooking and giving away food, running game results to the podium, or running a shuttle back and forth to two different parking lots so the event goers reached their vehicles safely.

“To see this many athletes participate this year, it’s such a blessing, and it reinforces and validates the need for events like this, said Gerald Cloud, Vice president of Planning and Development at Health Directions, one of the many sponsors of the Extraordinary Games. “It shows breadth of compassion in this community through all of the individuals who have given their time and energy to help. Everybody will be worn out by the end of the games, but it’s well worth all the effort that goes into it. Every volunteer I talked to last year felt they had been more blessed than the athletes themselves.”

Not a single athlete went home empty handed Saturday. Each and every competitor received a medal or a certificate of participation for their effort, not to mention a wealth of free gifts and treats from the participating sponsors. Regardless of which award the athletes received, they were all rewarded with exuberant and thunderous applause at the end of each competition from not only their families and caregivers, but by the many volunteers whose sole purpose was to show appreciation for the athletes’ accomplishments.

And the athletes aren’t the only ones who will have something to show after Saturday’s events. Joyce Lewis, president of Professional Home Health Care and event organizer, said she plans to send a “thank you” to each and every volunteer, along with a DVD of the day’s events.

“You can’s thank them (volunteers) enough,” said Lewis. “The volunteers make it all happen. We dream it, we see it, but the volunteers do the heavy work.

Although this year’s games are over, as soon as the excitement wears down, Professional Home Health Care staff will begin preparing for next year’s games.

“Our goal is not necessarily to come up with a specific number next year,” said Debbie Carroll, Professional Home Health administrator. “We just want to make sure that everybody who wants to has the opportunity to compete, whether it be inside or outside of the county. Every individual should have the right to excel.

“Programs like this promote awareness through the attendance of both the athletes, sponsors and volunteers, as well as the community spectators. Many of our sponsors who participate bring their own children so that they can teach them that these athletes are not only special, but they have qualities that make them extraordinary.

“You just need to watch these individuals in an environment that is catered to their needs. You don’t have to be a superstar, you just need a super heart.”

Any individuals, families, or organizations who would like to help with next year’s Extraordinary Olympics can get in touch with Debbie Carroll or Carla Williams at 864-0724 or visit Extraordinary Olympic Challenge on Facebook.

1
Text Only
Features
  • 0708 Kelsey White Miss Ky.jpg Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown

    A Williamsburg woman is among the 32 contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state who will vye for the title of Miss Kentucky 2014. 

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0621 Flag Day-Legion.jpg Elks Lodge hosts Flag Day ceremony

    Tri-County Elks Lodge #2826 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America hosted a Flag Day ceremony Saturday, June 14.

    June 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0621 Zip Line.jpg Flying across Sheltowee

    There was a brief burst of laughter as they all joked about signing their lives away, but there was also a hint of nervousness about it.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rose Masters-ALA88 president.jpg Masters elected Legion Auxiliary 88 president

    Rose Masters (left) accepts her president’s gavel from Department of Kentucky Past President Brenda Berry during the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 88’s June meeting.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0619 Smart Shop.jpg Smart Shopping

    Andrew Pennington, 24, born and raised in Corbin, was also born into the retail business, with his parents, Tim and Sarah Pennington, operating the Pennington Block Company.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0616 Nelda Barton-Collings.jpg The life and death of Nelda

    Nelda Lambert Barton-Collings passed away Friday, and, according to U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, “Kentucky has lost a true jewel.”

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0611 storm damage 1.jpg Storm Damage June 10, 2014 Damage reports came from all across the Tri-County area after Tuesday’s storms swept through southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.

    June 11, 2014 1 Story

  • 0602 Extraordinary Olympics-ceremony.jpg Going for the Gold

    Tisha Duncan received a gold medal at Saturday’s slalom event. Neither she, the spectators, nor those waiting at the finish line seemed to notice or even care that it took her a whopping 78 seconds to get there or that her feet never once touched the ground.

    June 2, 2014 5 Photos

  • 0530 Kristina Smith.jpg KPA intern joins the Times-Tribune staff

    Kristina Smith has joined the Times-Tribune staff this summer as an intern through the Kentucky Press Association.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0517 KSP Estes.jpg Selling Safety Through Magic

    Long before the days of email, smart phones and social media, one Kentucky State Police pioneer was blazing a trail using innovation and outside-the-box thinking to spread safety messages throughout Kentucky.

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter