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This year marks the 40th anniversary of Missouri’s Special Olympics. The summer games are taking place on the campuses of Missouri State University and Drury University until Friday. KSMU’s Justin Lux spoke with one of the athletes who competed Thursday in track and field events.
This is a story about Sierra Simmons, a 17-year old girl whose positive spirit is one of the many attributes that make her such a joy to be around. Just ask her coach, Bridgete Rebori.
“She’s very competitive. She had her best time ever today in her 100 meter and she is just a great cheerleader for everybody else,” Rebori says.
Sierra, who’s is in her third year of competition, says her involvement comes from her willingness for new experiences.
“It’s just fun and it’s a good thing to try new things and I like to be involved with sports,” she says.
Needless to say, Sierra is a bit of sports junkie.
“I play basketball, I used to swim, I did bowling for a while, I’ve done all kinds of events. I just like to get out of the house and enjoy being outdoors,” Sierra says.
While athletics continue to be the driving force behind Special Olympics, Bridgete Rebori explains relationships are what truly make it unique.
“We just love the teamship, the comradery of the team, the coaches. We get together after events and just hang out. So it’s just a great partnership with the athlete and the coaches and the parents,” she explains.
As Sierra can attest, some of the friendships she’s made will last a lifetime.
“I’ve had a friend that I met at church and we’re still really good friends. She’s on my team,” she says.
And while the two may not be competing side-by-side, Sierra says their support for one another is what makes the friendship special.
“Well, we don’t do events together, but we’re just like really close. We cheer on for each other and so does her twin, she has another sister that looks just like her, and they both cheer me on and I cheer both of them on,” says Sierra.
Sierra explains that if a career in sports isn’t her calling, then she already has an idea as to what she’d like to go into.
“I like science. That’s my favorite subject. I like to learn about animals and the plants,” she says.
After winning the silver medal in the 100 meter dash, Sierra is looking to take home some more hardware when she participates in the softball-throw and long-jump.
For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.
Anchor Tag: The public is encouraged to come out and cheer on all athletes participating. Competition will pick back up Friday morning at 7:15, at MSU’s Plaster Sports Complex and will conclude at 1 p.m.