300 compete in Special Olympics today

300 compete in Special Olympics today

April 20th, 2013 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Special Olympic athlete Carlene Melton will be named Athlete of the Year Saturday at the Area 4 Special Olympics.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

* What: Special Olympics

* When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today

* Where: McCallie School field

Carlene Melton clasped her hands together and posed Friday in anticipation of being named Athlete of the Year at the Area 4 Special Olympics competition at McCallie School today.

"This is my first time," she said about receiving the award.

Melton, 50, has been competing in the Special Olympics for more than 20 years. She's never been late, never missed a practice, said Lizzy Cheek, Orange Grove Center's recreation coordinator, who nominated Melton for the award.

Today, Melton will be among more than 300 youths and adults competing in the largest athletic event in the region for people with intellectual disabilities, said Area 4 Special Olympics Director Judy Rogers.

"It's about seeing them succeed and have fun," said Rogers, who has worked with the Special Olympics since the 1970s.

Volunteers, teachers and coaches from the 10-county Southeast Tennessee region will meet at McCallie School to watch their students and clients show their ability.

Melton has been doing stomach crunches every night to prepare for today, said Augusta Arwood, her supportive living companion.

Melton holds at least 20 medals in various sports and has competed at the state level. She is the only woman from Orange Grove Center on the flag football team and snow skiing team. She also participates in bowling, volleyball, basketball and track and field.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 434-757-6431.