185 Special Olympics Michigan Athletes Compete in the 2012 State Cycling Finals
By: Natilie Williams
A record breaking 185 Special Olympics Michigan athletes competed in the 2012 State Cycling Finals on Saturday, September 8. The 2012 State Cycling Finals were held at Chrysler Group LLC's Chelsea Proving Grounds.
Michael Ballon from Area 15 (Oakland County) received two gold medals despite this being his first cycling competition. "Riding is good and increases your strength and the other athletes are kind and just nice people," said Michael.
Michael's mother, Jackie Ballon even noticed an improvement in Michael's behavior and listening skills since becoming a Special Olympics Michigan athlete.
David Parkinson from Area 19 (Jackson County) has been a Special Olympics Michigan athlete for 27 years. He has competed in various sports, including: cycling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, weightlifting, and a recent retiree of swimming.
"Training and competing keeps me in shape, even though I do a lot of walking," said David.
David's cycling coach of three years, Mary Turk, has watched him improve athletically. Mary explained that David started cycling in 1k races, then progressed to 3k races and now he competes in unified races.
Mary explained that she has been coaching cycling for three years after initially starting off as a Special Olympics Michigan volunteer and chaperone. "My daughter had Down syndrome and has been a Special Olympics Michigan athlete for nine years," Mary said.
Mary works hard to spread the word about Special Olympics Michigan. The Jackson Cycling team has even begun to help Area 19 cycling athletes. Mary proudly announced, "Last year, we only had two unified teams and now we have nine unified teams!"
Special Olympics Michigan is a year-round program and a great vehicle to help athletes with intellectual disabilities discover their potential!
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- 5/25: Volleyball Tournament (Carson City, MI 48811)
- 5/30: 2013 State Summer Games (Mount Pleasant)
- 5/31: Wertz Warriors Golf Outing (Macomb)
- 5/31: Rev It Up Ride (Mt. Pleasant)
- 6/8: 2013 5K Foam Fest (Shelby Twp., Michigan)
- 6/17: Area 8 Golf Invitational (East Lansing)
- 6/18: REO Golf Outing (Northville, MI 48168)
- 6/21: 6th Annual Highlands Golf Classic (Grand Rapids)
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