ROANOKE (WSLS10) - More than 1,600 Roanoke Valley preschool through 12th grade students competed in the Special Olympics ‘Little Feet Meet'. This is the seventh year Northside High School has hosted the event. We were there for some of the excitement.
Surrounded by an overwhelming crowd of supportive family members, friends and teachers -- these little athletes have the chance to compete.
"This one's for the long jump," said athlete Bailee Masters as she proudly held her ribbons.
For 7-year-old Bailee Masters who is a third grader at Colonial Elementary School, this is her first ‘Little Feet Meet' with Special Olympics. There's more than 1,600 young athletes from 51-area schools in the Roanoke Valley region.
Early Monday morning the Special Olympics torch was lit, kicking off the games. There's almost 20 different sports for these athletes.
Finishing in 5th place, Bailee's won ribbons in the 50 meter dash, long jump and softball throw in a wheelchair. Her mother Emily Masters told us at birth Bailee was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Bailee's been limited to a wheelchair her entire life.
"When you think 'oh my kid's in a wheelchair...you're like are they going to do races?'" said Bailee's mother. "But, to have that chance and say she's going to do the 50 meter dash and she's going to do so good, it's really cool."
Event organizers told us this is an opportunity for the kids and parents to feel that anything is possible.
"It's really cool because after she does these types of things you can see the difference that this makes in her interactions outside of this," commented Bailee's grandfather Scott Walter. "I think that's true for all the kids."
With huge smile, Bailee defines her limits and crossed the finish line.
Athletes have the chance to move forward to the Special Olympics state and regional competitions. The state competition will be held June 10-12 at the University of Richmond.