Mid-Missouri sends two dozen to Special Olympics nationals

Members of Missouri's Special Olympics USA Games delegation lead the team cheer Sunday afternoon.

Dozens of Special Olympics athletes and their families celebrated Sunday before heading to the Special Olympics USA Games.

Organizers say the Central Missouri chapter of Special Olympics Missouri will send 27 athletes and five coaches to the USA Games that start next week, the most of any Missouri delegation. Central Area program director Diane Brimer said they will compete in sports including volleyball, girlsâ?? basketball, golf, track and field and swimming.

Lynn Montgomeryâ??s son Matthew, 27, will compete in his second USA Games. Lynn, a Columbia resident, said Matthew is very excited to compete at the national level again. He swam at the 2006 Games in Ames, Iowa and will play on the volleyball team this year. Lynn said Matthew has taken part in just about every athletic program Special Olympics has to offer. She said the program has not only kept him physically active but also given him a chance to interact with others.

â??Itâ??s been the best thing he has ever participated in,â?? she said. â??He would not have these opportunities if he was not in Special Olympics.â??

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games run from June 14 to June 21. They will be held on and around the Princeton University campus in New Jersey.