By Mary O’KEEFE
On Saturday morning, athletes walked onto the Crescenta Valley High School’s Susan Osborne Field prepared for the challenge they were about to face. This was the second annual CV CAN (Crescenta Valley Community is Committed to Athletic Needs) Special Olympics.
As the temperature climbed so did the spirit of these athletes as they went from event to event. But the athletes’ spirits were not the only ones whose spirits were soaring. About 350 volunteers were there to cheer on their athletes, flip hamburgers, serve at the Olympic Village area and act as referees and timers for the events.
“This is only our second year and we have more athletes and more events,” said Grace Chase, CV CAN Special Olympics organizer.
CV CAN is a community organization dedicated to supporting athletics throughout the Crescenta Valley. The Susan Osborne Field where the Special Olympics were held has been refurbished and improved thanks to the efforts of the organization. It continues to support athletes from all walks of life, including those at the high school, local sports organizations and at events like the Special Olympics.
Last year there were about 100 athletes competing; this year saw that number increase to 150. With the increase in new athletes came new teams such as Team Glendale, sponsored by the Glendale Kiwanis. Most of the team’s athletes came from Glendale Unified School District.
“Through the special needs program for athletes in the school district a request was made; that is how the group was put together. Then, with the support of the Glendale Kiwanis, we have been practicing with these kids for about a month,” said Todd Hunt, one member of Team Glendale. “This has just been an absolute blast.”
This year athletes competed in events including the 50- and 100-yard run/walks as well as softball throw, bocce and long jump.
The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station and Los Angeles County Fire were on hand to present medals and show their support.
“This is a perfect partnering with CV CAN,” said Laura Mayo, Tri-Valley Special Olympics regional director.