TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The Special Olympics Florida 2018 State Fall Classic kicks off this weekend, where inspiring athletes from all over the state will go for the gold.
Breaking down barriers both on and off the field through the power of sport, that's the mission of the Special Olympics, and for a local athlete and 10-time gold medal winner, the games have been a life-changer.
"It changed my life because making new friends and making new experiences and being a part of that," said athlete Zachary McAllister.
The Special Olympics Florida State Fall Classic takes place at the ESPN World of Sports Complex in Orlando. This will be Zach's eight year participating. He's competed in a range of sports including: softball, powerflifting, swimming, flag football and his personal favorite, soccer.
This Saturday he is competing in unified flag football.
Zach's father, Chris McAllister said there are many reasons why this event truly is special.
"The most important thing is the fellowship with the other
athletes he has a terrific time and gets to do things he wouldn't normally get to do," said McAllister. "Special Olympics is a great family and all these athletes together it will change your heart."
Zach said "the real prize isn't the medal, but playing and getting along with new friends."
Win or lose these incredible athletes are always winners.