Special Olympics at Drake - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Special Olympics at Drake

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

Seventeen-year-old Abbie Kliegl is a Valley High School student and a Special Olympics athlete. She participated in Unified Sports Day at Drake University on Thursday.

"I like sports, I like it so far and I have fun," said Kliegl.

Abbie's favorite sport is basketball. She doesn't make every shot, but that's not what the games are about to her anyway.

"My favorite part – I hang out with my friends, and to do stuff together," she said.

Abbie cheered on other special athletes Wednesday, as well as their regular education peers. Unified Sports Day put 620 Central Iowa students on the same team.

"It's a feeling of being accepted here," said coordinator Kathy Irving. "They can be who they are, and everybody's accepting them."

Abbie's been doing these events for years. Unified Sports Day was about shooting hoops and having fun, regardless of intellectual ability.

"It means a lot to me because it's been my whole life. This is part of me," Abbie explained. "I can't let go of it."

The event has been taking place at Drake for 19 years. The big Special Olympics Iowa summer games start in Ames on May 23.

For information on the games or volunteering, visit the Special Olympics Iowa website.

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