Goodwill Columbus brings Olympic excitement home
Goodwill Columbus' headquarters was transformed into an Olympic village Friday, July 27.
More than 150 individuals with developmental disabilities took part in Goodwill's own Olympic Games on the same day the London Summer Games opened.
The Goodwill Games, held at the facility at 1331 Edgehill Road near Grandview, included several track and field events, including shot put, discus, standing long jump and a 20-meter relay, as well as more-unusual events such as a water-balloon toss, bean-bag toss and egg walk.
"We had an Olympics during the last Summer Games, but this one is a lot bigger with more people participating," said Amy Clark, who organized the event with Diana Simmons, another Goodwill activities specialist.
The participants in Goodwill's Olympics included clients from Sage Senior Services and New Generation Work and Activity Services, two of the agency's adult day-service programs, Clark said.
The event included an opening ceremony, complete with the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner and a torch relay.
The torch, made of craft paper and cellophane, was carried through the hallways of Goodwill Columbus by participants moving on foot, with walkers or in wheelchairs to its final destination in the Sage commons room.
The games' athletes earned medals based on how many of a dozen planned events they entered, Clark said.
"The more events you take part in, the higher medal you'll earn," she said.
Participating in just one event earned a medal, Clark said.
The track and field events were modified to meet the abilities of the program participants, she said.
For example, the shot put was a lightweight ball and one could participate in the standing long jump with a single jump on foot or a single push in a wheelchair, Clark said.
In the days leading up to last week's games, the participants learned more about the sports in the actual Summer Olympics and made replica flags of various countries sending athletes to the London Games, she said.
The London Games will be hard-pressed to match the excitement displayed by the Goodwill athletes and spectators.
Linda Collins, a Whitehall resident, said she was planning to participate in the bean-bag toss, Frisbee throw and, perhaps, the egg walk.
"I wonder if the egg walk would be easy," Collins said, adding it probably looks easier than it really is.
The Goodwill Olympics was fun because it gave her a chance to get a taste of what the real Olympics must be like, she said.
"I always watch the Olympics on TV," Collins said. "I especially like the swimming."
Stephen Crabtree of Columbus was excited to take part in the Frisbee competition, which involved trying to throw the Frisbee into a basket.
"I have my own strategy," he said. "It's all based on moving my arm a certain way when I toss the Frisbee."
Rita Murray of Grove City said she had planned to take part in a number of events, including the shot put, basketball and egg walk.
She wouldn't really be competing against the other participants, Murray said.
"I just want to do my best," she said. "I don't care whether I do better than anyone else, as long as I give it my best effort. That's what it's all about."