ANDERSON — “Some people don’t believe in super heroes, but they haven’t met me.”
That’s what the back of athlete T-shirts said at the Madison County Special Olympics track and field meet on Sunday. About 90 super heroes of all sizes and abilities showed off their power at the Anderson University stadium for the county level’s premier event of the year.
There are still the area competition in New Castle and state event in Terre Haute later this summer, but the smiles on the athletes faces as they bested personal records and conquered their limitations made it clear: This is their favorite competition of the year.
County coordinator Michelle Calhoun said the motto on the back of their shirts embodies the spirit that each of the competitors bring to their events. Some of them train all year to prepare.
“We have events year-round for all the sports, but this is the biggest of the year for the county,” Calhoun said.
Whether it was the 400-meter walk, shot put events, sprints or bocce ball — a favorite of many athletes — Calhoun said she saw an incredible level of competition from everyone.
Justin Fridley, who is perhaps the most well-known athlete in the area, didn’t compete on Sunday, but helped kick off the event’s opening ceremonies by reciting the Athlete’s Oath. Fridley, a 32-year-old native of Anderson, has his sights set on this year’s national event, slated for June 14 to 21 in Princeton, N.J.
Fridley, a power-lifter who won gold at the national level in 2010, said this year means even more to him. It will be his first trip back to nationals since the passing of his grandfather in 2011. Devastated by the loss, Fridley took a year off of training to be around his loved ones.