Stories From the Summer Games – A Laugh a Lap Leads to Gold

June 18, 2004

Stories From the Summer Games
David Crandall got the Summer Games started in style. The Windsor resident pulled away from the field in the 5,000-meter race at Mitchell Field the event took place at 8 a.m. and was the first competition of the Summer Games and he smiled while he did it.

“We keep it light,” said Jeanne Johnson, Crandall’s long distance coach, who joked with Crandall on each of his 13 laps. Sometimes he shot a one-liner back at her, and other times he just threw his hands in the air and laughed. “We love for him to have fun.”

Don’t let Crandall’s smiles or laughter fool you, though: the Windsor resident is fast. He used his long legs to clock 20 minutes and 18 seconds, which was good for the gold medal.

“I get psyched up when I run and I think about how much fun it would be to win,” said Crandall, who trains as much as 20 miles per week. He also is a BOCES student and he works. “When I crossed the finish line, I knew I’d achieved my goal and helped my team.”

Long Island Athletes Stay Close to Home

The Long Island contingency of athletes didn’t have very far to travel for Summer Games.

In some past years, those on the southernmost piece of New York State could spend seven or eight hours on a bus to get to Summer Games. Not this year.

“It was great,” said Benjamin Beavers of Amityville, who competed in three Track & Field events. “We took a 45-minute ride this morning to get to Mitchell Field.”

There’s a flip side to hosting Summer Games, though. Some host region athletes say that competing in their backyard adds a little additional pressure to perform well.

Other athletes are unfazed whether the track they run on is in Long Island or Buffalo or wherever: “I don’t feel any pressure,” said Long Island’s Allison Coffin, who competed in four Track & Field events. “I just do my best and if someone else is having a hard time, I cheer them on.”

Pressure or no pressure, Beavers and Coffin are both excited that the Summer Games will return to their home in 2005.

“It’ll make me work hard so that I can come back to this wonderful place and represent Long Island to the fullest,”Beavers said.

“I can’t wait,” Coffin said. “I love it.”

Thousands of Special Olympics Athletes Return to Hofstra University

June 17, 2004

Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.- Athletes’ Oath For the second consecutive year, approximately 3,000 Special Olympics New York (SONY) athletes and coaches are showing Long Islanders what sports are all about. SONY’s 2004 Summer Games, the organization’s largest and most prestigious annual competition, are taking place at Long Island’s Hofstra University June 17-19.

”Wherever you go at Hofstra University this weekend, you’ll see smiles,” said Neal J. Johnson. “That’s because Special Olympics athletes aren’t after long-term contracts or endorsements. They’re not worried about making the 11 o’clock news or headlines. Whether they finish first or fifth, they’ll be smiling because they’re doing what they love.”

Thursday’s Opening Ceremonies feature a Parade of Athletes, the completion of the Law Enforcement Torch Run and the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron. Friday and Saturday features competition in Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics, Power Lifting, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field and Volleyball. Olympic-style rules apply.

The Summer Games will return to Hofstra in 2005. This will be the first time in SONY’s history that the Summer Games have been held in the same locale for three years in a row.

“Long Island and Hofstra University have provided Special Olympics New York’s athletes with a wonderful forum to show the world exactly what they’re capable of,” Johnson said. “We’re excited to be returning.”

The 2004 Summer Games are made possible through the generosity of many sponsors including: (Presenting Sponsor) UBS; (Statewide) New York Lottery and New York State United Teachers; (Gold) Cablevision, Fraternal Order of Police, Geico and OppenheimerFunds; (Silver) Coke, Federation of Insurance Professionals and Goldman Sachs; (Bronze) Long Island Marriott; (Support/Friend) Carvel, Kiwanis, LUKOIL/Getty, Ridgewood Savings Bank and United Nations Federal Credit Union; and (Media) Anton News, Island 94.3, Long Island Press and Z100.


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