Locals compete in Special Olympics championships
by Lindsay Field
May 06, 2013 12:12 AM | 2172 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta resident Khalilah Greer competes in rhythmic gymnastics during this year’s USAGymnastics Special Olympics Championships.
Marietta resident Khalilah Greer competes in rhythmic gymnastics during this year’s USAGymnastics Special Olympics Championships.
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Marietta resident Aaren Panichi competes in rhythmic gymnastics during this year’s USAGymnastics Special Olympics Championships.
Marietta resident Aaren Panichi competes in rhythmic gymnastics during this year’s USAGymnastics Special Olympics Championships.
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MARIETTA — Almost 50 Special Olympics athletes from Cobb competed against participants from 12 different states and Canada in the USAGymnastics Special Olympics Championships this weekend.

The national event, which was at the Cobb County Gymnastics Center off Fairground Street, featured Special Olympics athletes, both men and women, who competed in artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and TeamGym.

Each athlete competed on different skill levels individually and in groups.

Outside of Georgia, athletes from California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Ottawa, Canada, participated in this year’s competition.

Cindy Bickman, a Special Olympics coach who owns the Chattooga School of Gymnastics and Dance off Canton Road in Marietta, said 135 athletes and unified partners in all competed this year.

“This years’ USAGym-nastics Special Olympics Championships was the best yet!” she said. “I was really proud of the Cobb team.”

The athletes were judged by 20 volunteers. For many of the young gymnasts it was their first time competing.

“The more experienced team members not only competed, but they helped coach the younger girls, handed out awards and were great role models for all the spectators and volunteers,” Bickman said.

Bickman said she believes the Special Olympics is important because it showcases the abilities, rather than the disabilities, of athletes.
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