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Special Olympics Summer Games Wrap Up In Sioux Falls

May 23, 2010, 10:45 PM by Matt Holsen

SIOUX FALLS, SD - The Special Olympics has come a long way in South Dakota since the first ever summer games in 1968. Back then, 125 athletes participated in the inaugural event. Today, that's roughly the same amount of people that make up just the Sioux Falls team alone.

A couple of extremely windy days couldn't stop the 2010 Summer Games from happening. This year the two-day event took place in Sioux Falls and Special Olympics volunteer Deb Mulholland says it was great to see everyone out there competing.

"Just coming back to it time and time again and not giving up and not getting frustrated. I mean, they're doing things I never did in high school. So we're real proud of them," Mulholland said.

Deb's husband Rich is the head track coach for Sioux Falls. And it just so happens that their youngest son Kent, who has non-verbal autism, is one of the team's star athletes.

"He's a pretty athletic little guy," Rich said, "he doesn't have trouble beating Dad."

Kent has been training for the Special Olympics since he was nine years old.

"He could barely stay in the lanes when he was first starting out but he's trained hard for many years. Gotten very fast and now he does the pentathlon, which is five events, and he's the four-time junior division state champ for Special Olympics in Sioux Falls," Rich said.

The tenth grader showed off some of his ability Saturday when he crossed the finish line first in the 100 meter dash.

Speed isn't the only thing in Kent's repertoire. He also competes in other sports for Sioux Falls Special Olympics including swimming, bowling and softball.

On top of participating in the pentathlon, Kent is also a member of the 4x100 relay team which is headed to the Special Olympics USA National Games in July down in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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