110 athletes compete in Special Olympics | CraigDailyPress.com

110 athletes compete in Special Olympics

Ben Bulkeley
Runner E.J. Camp carries the torch while making his way up Finley Lane for the start of the Special Olympics Colorado Western Area Summer Games. Camp placed first in the 400-meter dash.

How fast is Jeremy Gohr?

Ask the deer he nearly outran.

Gohr, one of 24 Craig athletes, took to the track and the pool Saturday at Moffat County High School for the Special Olympics Colorado Western Area Summer Games.

Gohr, 23, who won a gold medal in the 100-meter dash, knows he’s fast.

“I almost smoked a deer once,” he said. “In Rangely, I ran after it, and I got so close I could see the hairs on his back standing up.

“I wanted to see how fast he could run, and I nearly outran him. I just said ‘What the heck, let’s race.”

The Special Olympics Colorado Western Area Summer Games have been in Craig for more than 30 years.

This year, the games were dedicated to Betsie Madsen, a local woman who competed in the games in the past. She died in February.

More than 100 athletes from Craig, Steamboat Springs, Delta, Avon, Montrose, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction competed in swimming and track and field events.

And for anyone thinking about squaring up against the young runner Gohr, be warned.

“If somebody wants to race me, every time I’ll gladly accept the challenge,” he said. Gohr, who also competed in the 200-meter dash and the softball throw, said he enjoyed everything about the day.

“It’s so much fun, I can’t make up my mind,” Gohr said. “I get to come out, make some friends, have some fun.”

Gohr, who is a member of the Horizons Specialized Services team, said he started participating in the Special Olympics when he lived in Rangley. He practices wherever he can.

“Mostly, I love running,” Gohr said. “If I’m in an open spot, I’m running.”

But, Gohr wasn’t the only person going fast around the track.

Bobby Holmberg, 30, blazed around the track in the 100- and 400-meter wheelchair dash, picking up medals in both.

Holmberg, who has competed in the Special Olympics for 24 years, also competed in the softball throw.

It was on the track, however, where he really took off.

“It’s better to go faster,” Holmberg said. “Fast is always good.”

Holmberg, wearing racing shades and a hat adorned in flames, knew he was going to tear up the track.

“I’m going all the way today,” he said. “It’s hard to go as fast as me.”

Charlene Abdella, Holmberg’s mother, said her son practices every Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

“It’s good for him – he really enjoys it,” Abdella said. “It’s good for his self-confidence, and he just has fun doing it.”

Jim Herschberg, games director, said the games allow the community to show its compassion while cheering from the stands.

“It’s not something every community has – it’s what makes Craig, Craig,” he said. “To me, participating in the Special Olympics brings together the disabled community and the rest of the community, and that’s what makes Craig so special.”

Herschberg said there were an average number of athletes, but the stands were more full than they have been in recent years.

“You see the smiles, the enthusiasm, the joy and happiness for everyone here, not just the athletes,” he said. “The athletes really enjoy the camaraderie, and I know they enjoy the competition.”

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or bbulkeley@craigdailypress.com

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