Special Olympic athletes are playing to win at BG basketball tou - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Special Olympic athletes are playing to win at BG basketball tourney

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) -

Special Olympics Ohio helps thousands of people with intellectual disabilities across the state compete, building skills and friendships.

Many of those athletes are in Bowling Green this weekend, for a little march madness of their own.

There's a common misconception that the Special Olympics is simply about participation.

But you won't hear that from any of the players.

Of The original field of 152 teams, only 28 earned a trip to Bowling Green for the 2017 state basketball championships.

About 500 athletes will participate in the tournament this weekend.

And they came to win.

"I've just been saying to my teammates a lot, we're taking home the gold boys we're taking home the gold,” said athlete Giovanni Watkins.

'The Special Olympics hosts many events in multiple sports but basketball seems to bring an extra level of excitement.

"You hear the crowd behind us this is one of the most raucous events that we have in our sports. I think it's expected. It's Basketball you're expected to get loud and excited at these games,” said Kraig Makohus, President and CEO of Special Olympics Ohio.

Special Olympics Ohio is one of the largest programs in the country with 26,000 participating athletes.

Makohus stresses they are just that... athletes.

"If you ever get a chance to play unified sports with our athletes they're going to impress you, they're going to make you believe that special Olympics is more than what you thought it was,” said Makohus.

The state tournament continues tomorrow at multiple locations on the BGSU campus, along with a skills competition at Bowling Green High School, starting at 10am.

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