Amarillo athletes make history at USA National Special Olympics

Amarillo Special Olympics Athletes represent the Texas Panhandle and win medals and ribbons (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

A group of athletes from Amarillo who entered the Special Olympics Nationals contest returned to Amarillo to show off their medals and ribbons. Four Special Olympics athletes and one unified athlete won ten medals and seven ribbons while competing in Seattle, Washington at the USA National Games. This marked the first time a team from Amarillo competed at Nationals which takes place every four years.

“It was so amazing because you see all these different people and get to talk to them,” said Patti Ballew, power lifter.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Mark Schuster, power lifter. “I got to meet all new athletes and stuff.”

“I feel like I was in heaven when I got my medals and my ribbons,” said Keenon Doss, Bocce contestant.

To help prepare them for the USA Nationals the athletes trained for a year twice a week to get ready.

“We had three power lifters and they actually power lifted every single week for a year,” said Carla Hughes, CEO/President of ADVO Companies. “The athletes were training intensely to make sure their lifts were accurate and that the weights were increasing and to make sure they were doing the proper form.”

On Tuesday the athletes showed off their medals and ribbons to other people with ADVO Companies.

“The sheer opportunity to go to Nationals in Seattle made them winners,” said Hughes. “It didn’t matter what happened at the competition as long as they felt they had done their best.”

Patti Ballew placed third in squat along with fourth in bench press and dead lift along with combo in the power lifting competition. Ballew earned the right to compete at the Worlds Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi, Dubai in March.

“I’m going to start back up with training and I’ll be working harder to compete in Dubai,” said Ballew.

This will mark the first time someone from Texas Panhandle with ADVO Companies to compete in the Worlds Special Olympics.

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