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Special Olympics Athletes Leave St. Joseph for USA Games

After a year's worth of training, some local athletes are on their way to the Olympic games. They're some of the top performers with the Special Olympics.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) After a year's worth of training, some local athletes are on their way to the Olympic games.

They're some of the top performers with the Special Olympics.

"I feel like excited and nervous at the same time. And, you just, I'm just, I think we're ready to go," said athlete Brandon Simmons.

Simmons is set for the trip of a lifetime. He's heading to New Jersey for the USA games, where athletes from all over the country will represent their Special Olympics' teams.

"A lot of them have never been out of the state, let alone flown anywhere. So, that's a big deal too," said Kaylee Shoenfelder, sports manager.

Simmons is one of 15 local athletes taking part in the games.

"I think I'm relieved and nervous at the same time. We've been waiting for a year for this. I know that my boys from my team are just so excited," added Shoenfelder.

They'll compete in everything from flag football to golf.

"I mean, of course we hope we get the gold medal. But, I think just going down there and having a good time all together is what they're really looking forward to. I mean we get to do some really cool stuff. So, I think they're just - as long as we go down there and have a good time, that's what they're really looking forward to," said Shoenfelder.

Sam's Club hosted the athletes and their families for a special sendoff Friday, which helped build excitement for the competition.

"I mean, they're so excited they can hardly stand it right now. It makes me excited to see them so happy and anxious to get down there," Shoenfelder said.

The athletes even got a special escort out of town from the St. Joseph Police Department.

"We try to win. We're trying to do our best," added Simmons.

They'll be in New Jersey for about a week taking part in the games. The athletes even received brand new uniforms, shoes and outfits to wear while they are there. They'll stop in St. Louis first to meet up with other athletes from the state.
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