Special Olympics Georgia Fall State Games held in Valdosta

Posted at 12:01 AM, Oct 09, 2022

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Julia Doss has been a part of special Olympics Georgia for 15 years.

She's competed in gymnastics, swimming, and bowling.

But she tried a different sport for this year's games in Lowndes County.

"I competed in the sport of bocce and I won a second place medal," Doss said.

More than 1,000 athletes like Doss and coaches from all around Georgia competed in bocce, softball, cycling and golf over the weekend.

The games were canceled in 2020 and returned in 2021, modified and smaller because of the pandemic.

This year's games had the biggest turnout since 2019 with over 1,500 participants, volunteers, coaches, staff and officials.

Organizers say this year's event also saw support from local sponsors raising over $76,000.

Sydney Prince was excited to see so many people come out to support the Special Olympians.

"It allows my athletes to participate with their local community and allows them to compete at their level so everyone is appreciated for what they can do and they get to compete," Prince said Saturday.

Another one of those athletes is Nathaniel Price.

It's his 13th year competing in the Special Olympics.

Whether he gets a medal or not, he enjoys making new friends every year.

"Everybody has fun and enjoys themselves. It doesn't matter if you win or lose. it's just like your family you just keep your head held up high," Price said.