Bowling Green's Special Olympics Prepares for Summer Games

The 2007 Special Olympic World Summer Games will be held October 2007 in China, marking it the first time the games have ever been held in Asia.i>

Next year’s games will also have a special tie right here to South Central Kentucky as some of our very own will be participating.

The city of Bowling Green announced today that it and Warren County will be representing the state of Kentucky in the 2007 World Special Olympics Summer Games in Shanghai, China.

Team USA of Bowling Green will be one of two female basketball teams representing the United States at the games.

“To be a part of the Special Olympics movement is just the next step in the movement to opening doors for people with intellectual disabilities," said Trish Mazzoni, Kentucky Special Olympics executive vice president.

There will be 7,000 athletes participating from 169 countries expected to compete in Shanghai. Natalie Williams, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2000, is a 20-year-old basketball player for Bowling Green’s Special Olympics team that will have the chance to take part in this event.

“I started hearing things when I was in seventh grade but ignored it though,” Williams said. “Even though you go through rocky roads at first with it, I sure did the first few years, it was hard to come out with it.”
Natalie uses her love of basketball to be a social bug like she was before she was diagnosed. “I think it’s perfectly fine to be in Special Olympics because it is somewhere you have a safe place," Williams said.

“With our female team, they are extremely enthusiastic. They want to learn and their effort is their number one priority. It’s great to coach but it’s great to watch as well,” Coach Brent Belchers said.

Being a part of the World Summer Games is a very big accomplishment for all of these girls. “There are only two female teams in the entire United States going on this trip so it is not something that is an everyday occurrence, it’s pretty unreal,” Belchers explained.

As for Williams, she has also recently been showing interest in taking some college courses. She loves children and is empathetic to those with disabilities.

“I’m more sensitive and I am aware of things and people’s reaction by body language and by their speech and how they react to you,” Williams said.

The Bowling Green/Warren County Team USA needs your help though. Over the next year the team will need to raise $25,000 for the trip to China to compete in the 2007 World Summer Games.

You can call (270) 393-3584 for more information on how to make a donation or become involved with the Special Olympics team.

WBKO 2727 Russellville Road Bowling Green, KY 42101-3976 Phone: 270-781-1313 After Hours Hotline: 270-781-6397 Fax: 270-781-1814
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