Special Olympics kick off in Mt. Pleasant - WNEM TV 5

Special Olympics kick off in Mt. Pleasant

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Thousands of athletes are ready to take the field after opening ceremonies at the Michigan Special Olympics summer games.

The excitement level at Central Michigan University this weekend is unmatched.

Al Reimers helped his son Alex tighten up his shoelaces before he took the field.

"[I] enjoy watching him compete," Reimers said.

Alex was just excited his dad could make it to the opening ceremony.

The two are from West Branch and were among the thousands in Mt. Pleasant for the games this weekend.

Some 2,900 athletes from across the state, adults and children with disabilities, will shine.

Lakeyn Humpert is one of them with one goal in mind.

"Have fun," Humpert said.

Kris Howley, Humpert's mother, gave her a good luck hug on Thursday. It's a moment she said Humpert anticipates and one she treasures.

"You go through the day to day grind and sometimes it can be overwhelming. And then you come here and you just see your child shine and it just gives you a whole new prospective on things and it's just great," Howley said.

Thursday's ceremony kicked off a weekend of competition in more than 20 sports including track and field, gymnastics, volleyball and power lifting. But there's one thing they all said makes the event great.

"The teammates," Alex said.

To hear that is something that brings out the emotions in his dad.

"I think special needs parents have been through a lot over the years. And to see their child be able to compete and have fun just like anybody else is a real thrill," Reimers said.

The games begin on Friday and go through Saturday.

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