KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Olympians are gearing up for the first full day of competition at the winter games in Sochi. Closer to home, in Kingsport, students and adults were diving in for their own Special Olympics Swim Meet.
The sound of water splashing means the yearly Northeast Tennessee Special Olympics Swim Meet is in full swing at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. "We had a Special Olympics swim competition where all of buddies and friends got to get out and swim in a pool," says participant Joe Watterson.
Watterson won two ribbons but he tells us these Olympic Games aren't about winning or losing, but knowing there are people who care about you. "It gives me more of a confidence level of knowing I have a support system," he said.
This year, 35 students and adults with intellectual disabilities made a splash; we learned there is something for everyone. "From the assisted floats to the assisted walks to the free style so everyone gets to participate," adds Volunteer High School Special Education Assistant Krista Adams.
Adams tells us nobody leaves empty-handed. "Even if it's participation but everyone placed today I think," she said.
The smiles on the participants' faces show just how much fun everyone has.
Meanwhile, Joe Watterson says he hope the aquatic games continue, because it's something he looks forward to all year. "It gives me an opportunity to get out and do something I love to do," he said.
Organizers tell us the Special Olympics are opened to anyone ages 8 and up who has an intellectual disability. For more information you can click here.