Keesler Hosts State's Special Olympics Games - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Keesler Hosts State's Special Olympics Games

Some warriors took to the field at Keesler Airforce Base Saturday, but they weren't in uniform. Nearly a thousand people from throughout the state competed in this weekend's Special Olympics.

"It was fun. It was fun to get somebody beat," said Jasper McKnight.

Seventeen-year-old McKnight took top honors in the 200 meter run. His gold medal wasn't easily won. Like any award-winning athlete, it was something he had to train hard for.

"I ran with my friends over there, and I ran four laps around here. I went to the gym a few times," he said.

Tony Rich was one of his sponsors.

"It's been a privilege, it's great. He's a great tool to meet people. He goes up to random people all the time, acts like he's known them forever. He keeps us working hard. We've been to the gym twice already, running around the track a mile yesterday, played basketball. He's an active guy. He's good hearted," Rich said.

This is Rich's first time to work with the Special Olympics. These games and McKnight have made a believer out of Rich.

"He's the most determined person I've ever met. He's so persistent. Anything he wants, he sets his eye on it and gets it," Rich said.

McKnight was one of 852 athletes who competed in the Special Olympics Mississippi State Summer Games this weekend. The games are held every year at Keesler and include events from wheelchair racing to roller skating.

"I think it's a great program going on here, anything to do to help everybody out," Rich said.

McKnight went to the nationals last year, and his dreams are still alive and well.

"I'm really going to try to go to the pro Olympics. I really want to go there," he said.

By Toni Miles 

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