"Let the games begin!"
And with those four words, athletes in the 2013 Special Olympics Maryland, Baltimore City Spring Games headed to the field.

“I like throwing and being outside,” signed Tyrik, who is hearing impaired and attends Gwynns Falls Elementary School. He competed in the 50 meter run and softball throw as his mother cheered for him and his friends. “I’m really excited to see all the kids,” said Chanell Watson. “They’re so happy when they get to the finish line.”

About 850 students from 40 Baltimore City Public Schools competed in track and field events at Coppin State University in early May. More than 600 student volunteers and 250 staff volunteers also helped.

“It’s beautiful out here,” said LaDonna Schemm, Special Olympics coordinator for City Schools. “And the best thing is the kids are having a good time.” Schemm says the competition helps students build self-confidence, socialization skills and friendships.

Every athlete wins a medal or ribbon, a souvenir from their event and a very fun day.

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