FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In just a few days, 3,000 Special Olympic athletes from around the state will go to Terre Haute for the annual Summer Games. Eleven from Allen County will compete in the three day event. So, now it’s crunch time before the games.
One of those athletes is Alise Hazelett. The 14-year-veteran of Special Olympics has too many gold medals to count.
“I have a lot of them,” Alise said. “I really love sports and hanging out with my friends and getting to know other people.”
“The best part for us about Summer Games is I had a family a couple years ago say it’s their favorite weekend of the year because their kids can perform and do things and nobody makes fun of them,” Alise’s mom, coach and Allen County Special Olympics Coordinator Donna Hazelett said.
This year Alise will compete in bowling, the 800 meter walk and the mini javelin throw. Alise has played on different sports teams since she was young, but once high school hit she had a hard time keeping up with everyone else. That’s where Special Olympics, open to anyone with any intellectual disability, comes in.
“The important part is they come to Special Olympics and are able to do things at their own level, with people like them, and everybody accepts everybody,” Donna said.
Ever since, Alise has excelled. She’s competed in everything from track and field to volleyball to golf and basketball. She was even Athlete of the Year at a past Summer Games, and attended the world games.
“I went to world games and it was really really fun to see different people from different counties,” Alise said.
Alise has just a few more days to hit the track or green or bowling alley to perfect what she does best because the Summer Games begin Friday.