2011 Nebraska Special Olympics Begins

Every athlete experiences it...anticipation...final internal thoughts of preparation.

Encouragement from dad...

Then the moment you've been training for going all out...in athletic competition.

Sounds are muted...masked by will and desire.

Like all others, these athletes feel these emotions...and then some.

They...are special.

Matt Oldfield and Brad Boslau from Lincoln are athletes. They've won...they've lost. But for the last 20 years...they've competed in the Nebraska Special Olympics.

Moms Karen Oldfield and Olinda Boslau have been there every step of the way.

Watching their sons compete...and grow over the years.

"You feel pride but you know that it's not from anything that you did, it's what they have done and the coaches have done for them," Karen said.

"As a mother, I could not be prouder of what he has accomplished, what he has learned," Olinda said. "It is his life. He looks forward to all the practices and time with his friends and coaches."

Competing in these games does more than help the athletes gain a greater sense of self...it draws families together...creating a bond few of us are lucky enough to experience.

"I hate to think of where we'd be," Karen said. "It's not only for the child...I'll say we're selfish in what its given us. The camaraderie with the other parents to know you're not alone."

"The friendships that he makes from Special Olympics is very precious," Olinda said.

"It's solely the inner strength of the child coming through if they are just given a chance," Karen said.

Because everyone deserves the chance to have their hand raised in victory.

Events are going on at nine venues across the metro area.

Sessions run through Saturday.

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