No Obstacle Too Big For Some Very Special Athletes

Law Enforcement Torch Run, kick-off Special Olympic games

There are only a few months left before the world’s best athletes complete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, right here on NBC. But before the greats compete for gold, back here, some of the best athletes in South Dakota’s Special Olympics are competing for something just a little bit different.

Chants could be heard outside the Law Enforcement Center in Sioux Falls.

“We are the Torch Run, the mighty, might Torch Run!”

Guided by the “Flame of Hope,” Olympians followed that symbol, and will continue to do so for the next three days. It was a testament to show they are a force to be reckoned with.

“I go to power lifting in Spearfish,” said 22-year-old special Olympian, Spencer Collins.

He is one of two Olympic athletes who will venture to 27 cities across South Dakota in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. As he nears each finish line, he has but one goal in mind.

“I practice usually on Monday nights, but I practice a lot at home,” he added.

Liaison between the torch run and Special Olympics South Dakota, Todd Bradwisch, says it’s a community event the minute each athlete steps foot in town.

“When we bring the torch in that’s really nice because all of our local athletes in those towns they come out and run with us,” said Bradwisch.

The torch run is one major fundraiser and awareness event for Special Olympics South Dakota, which is the charity of choice for law enforcement.

“It’s a great partnership between all of law enforcement across the state,” added Bradwisch, “all different avenues of that to support Special Olympics.”

It will be the first time Amethyst Schwender will compete in the games, and she says there’s a lot of pressure to do well.

“It’s exciting. It’s overwhelming. This is a big honor for me,” she said.

“When people come out and see our athletes they see the will and the strength of our athletes and how they just want to be out and compete and be a part of society and just be like everybody else,” said Bradwisch.

Despite adversity, these Olympic stars are proving anyone can aim for gold. The opening ceremony for the Special Olympics summer games is scheduled for this Thursday night in Spearfish. Curious when they might arrive in your town? Check out their link here!