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Newton County Special Olympics organizers seeking support for event
Special Olympics 2022
Runners from Newton County middle and high schools compete in the 50-yard dash on the first day of the three-day Newton County Special Olympics’ Spring Games in April 2022 at Sharp Stadium. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — Organizers of the annual Newton County Special Olympics are asking community members and businesses for help in hosting the event March 24 through 31 at Legion Field in Covington.

The games usually are at nearby Sharp Stadium but is unavailable this year because its field is being prepared for the installation of artificial turf.

Newton County Special Olympics Coordinator LaTrelle Cawthon said in a letter to the community, "Special Olympics is the worldwide leader in providing high quality sports training and athletic competition opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

"Our program is unique in that it accommodates competitors at all ability levels by assigning them to 'competition divisions' based on both age and actual performance," Cawthon said. "Although our local program consists of various levels of training and competitions in 18 different sports and activities throughout the year, our biggest event, Spring Games, offers track and field competitions for all age and ability groups over a three day period.  This event also offers our community a first-hand opportunity to see the special gifts and talents our athletes possess."

The Parade and Opening Ceremonies are set for March 24 at around 10:45 a.m. to kick off the week of events. The parade will go around the square and return to Legion Field for Opening Ceremonies at 11:30. 

"It is helpful for local businesses, churches, and preschools around the square to come out and cheer the athletes on during the parade," Cawthon said. "Some of the schools even make and hold up signs to encourage the student-athletes."

The middle and high school athletes will participate in their track and field events on Monday, March 27. The elementary schools' competition will be divided into two days, with Flint Hill, Fairview, West Newton, Porterdale, Oak Hill and Rocky Plains on Tuesday, March 28; and South Salem, Live Oak, Middle Ridge, East Newton and Mansfield on Wednesday, March 29.

Thursday and Friday, March 30 and 31, will be the rain dates if needed.  

The games generally begin each day at 10 a.m. and end by noon. Most of the students eat lunch at the field and return to their school, Cawthon said.

"Since each Special Olympic athlete just has two events they participate in, there is a lot of 'down time' for each student between events," she said.

To make the event successful and fun for the athletes,Wildlife Critters hosts a petting zoo, Falconwood Farms brings goats, Newton County Animal Control brings dogs to pet, the local middle and high schools do temporary tattoos and face painting. The Miracle League of Newton County, the Covington Police Department and Newton County Sheriff's Office also have been participants in recent years.  

"These are just a sample of some of the different activities that are going on and we have other sponsors and companies who send volunteers to help with the actual events or to entertain the students between events," Cawthon said. 

Those interested in participating in some way can contact Cawthon at 404-797-9526 or 770-788-5387 or email