Area Students Compete in Special Olympics Bowling Competition

Athletes from Okaloosa, Escambia, and Santa Rosa counties gathered recently at the Fort Walton Beach Bowling Center to compete in the Special Olympics - Area 1 Bowling competition.

Special Olympics helps individuals with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large, by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and by increasing public awareness of their capabilities and needs.

Teams from Meigs Middle School and Silver Sands School participated in the Area 1 Bowling competition. This competition serves as the precursor for athletes advancing on to State Competition in November. Competition events included singles, doubles and team competition. In all, approximately 148 athletes participated.

According to their website, Special Olympics Okaloosa County provides sports training and Olympic style competition to more than 400 athletes with intellectual disabilities in several sports through the support of over 15 training programs throughout the county. All athletes eight years or older, no matter what ability level, can benefit from Special Olympics.

In Special Olympics, the athletes are the heart of the movement. Athletes not only have the opportunity to develop physical fitness and become competitive athletes, but through sport, they build self-esteem, social skills, friendships, leadership skills, have fun and learn life lessons that translate into their lives away from the playing field, making them more productive and accepted members of society.

Volunteers are the backbone of the Special Olympics Florida movement. Volunteers enable Special Olympics to offer sports training and competition as well as provide our athletes with the opportunity to grow and showcase their skills. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit Special Olympics Okaloosa at

Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
- Athlete Oath

For more information on Special Olympics in Okaloosa County, please visit,

Pictured above: Meigs Special Olympics Bowling Team, pictured are:  Blaine Simmons, Dalton Wilmot, Michael Hebert, Edward Shackleford, and Coach Deborah Bailey.

Pictured below: Silver Sands Special Olympics Bowling Team, pictured are: Mindy Cannizaro, Marcus Salter, Nick Dunbar, Steven VanEtten, Cole Carr, Check Colon, Anna Heathcote, Ashley Cunningham, Monica Lane, Rafael Rosado, Robert(Bobby) Sargent, Ashley Dunbar, Konrad Kopruca, Kenneth Lowery, Jacob Nehus, Jacob Phillips, Andrew Petrie, Traci Dayton, Sydney Hawkins, Sean Gacioch, Daryl Oliver, Jordie(Andria) Williams, Cameron Brandenburg, Marissa Crawford,  Stephen Knoll, Shawn Brown, Jessie Cooley, and Megan Dudley.