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U-46 Special Olympians compete in state games

By Seth Hancock
  Jeremy Johnson, of Streamwood High School, brought home the gold for the U-46 Bluestars while six other athletes competed in the Illinois Special Olympics summer games.
  The games were held at various locations in Bloomington-Normal from Friday, June 15 through Sunday, June 17. Track events were held at Illinois State University and swimming at Illinois Wesleyan University.
  Johnson, who has Down syndrome as well as other orthopedic issues according to a School District U-46 press release, won the 50-meter run with a time of 31.47 seconds.
  “Jeremy almost lost both of his legs, so for him to want to participate in walking or running events is pretty cool,” said Jeremy’s mother Cheryl Johnson. “If we’re shopping in a store, he might say he’s in pain. But when the race starts in Special Olympics, you wouldn’t know he’s had any issues.”
  Constantina “Tina” Hondros, of Streamwood’s Canton Middle School, was second in both the 25-meter freestyle (21.61) and 50 free (1:01.25) swimming events. Ozzy Hernandez, of the district’s Center House Transition Program, was fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:39.05) and 100 free (1:13.89) swim events.
  Vincent “Vinny” Leal (South Elgin’s Kenyon Woods Middle School), James Leveille (Hanover Park’s Horizon Elementary School), Jackson Miller (Larkin High School) and Syed Raza (Bartlett High School) all competed in track events over the weekend.
  Sarah Domin is the Bluestars’ track and field coach and Lindsey Reynolds the Bluestars’ coordinator.
   “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the success of our students,” Domin said. “It’s a coveted honor to participate in the Summer Games, so this is very exciting.”
  Domin added: “It’s a very fun atmosphere not only for the students but also for their parents and siblings and members of the general community who come out to enjoy the events and celebration.”
  According to the Illinois Special Olympics website (soill.org), over 4,000 athletes compete in the summer games and about 11,000 people annually attend. The International Special Olympics are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.





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