Photo Credit: Freddie B. Photography™
SpecialNeeds.com was able to attend several of the locations where the games were being held, ranging from USC, Los Angeles Equestrian Center, and Alamitos Beach in Long Beach. I will take you on a brief tour of the competitions, where assigned photographer Freddie Bommer was able to capture the human spirit at its finest.
Every photographer has different motivations for taking pictures. Freddie’s happens be a sincere compassion for the very special individuals involved in the Special Olympics. I am dedicating this piece to the best of what he caught on camera. Thanks to his heartfelt work, they will convey a message to the world: “Love one another, and the joyous celebration of sport!” These are historical moments that you will only find, here on SpecialNeeds.com, a website dedicated to support the intellectually and physically challenged.
Charlotte MacDonald of Great Britain (pictured right), was excited to have won the gold in the Equestrian event! Once she caught her breath she introduced me to her two heroes, her brothers, William and James MacDonald. They both told me how fantastic it was to see all of their little sister’s hard work pay off. Her mother and stepfather were also in attendance and you could see the pride on both faces when Charlotte explained just why her brothers were her heroes. “My brothers protect me, they are my guardian angles!” Her mother’s message to other parents of special needs children is: “Go for it! The Special Olympics gives these children and adults an opportunity to live their lives in a positive light and if they just take one step at a time, it will be well worth it!”
Walking through the USC campus was like being at a world fair! All around us we could hear so many different languages and watch a parade of colorful and unique clothing from all the corners of the earth. Entire families of the participants, from grandparents, parents, to the smallest grandchild, showed up to support the athletes in this, the largest sporting event of its kind. I was fortunate enough to have a chance to meet and speak with them. It was unanimous; everyone agreed that they were treated extremely well. “We are all in this together and their actions truly reflected a wonderful sense of unity among the families of the athletes participating at Special Olympics.”
It was another perfect summer “Sunny 16” day in Southern California. For those unfamiliar with that term, it’s when you have no clouds in the sky to hinder sunlight. It’s takes real skill to take good photographs on days like these. Freddie’s photos really shine, as you can see yourself.
Dain Blanton and Lynn Carico, both Olympians, participated right along side the athletes in an exhibition of skill, energy, and team spirit. Having fun while maintaining professionalism was the theme out on the sandy courts. Rafer Johnson, founder of the California Special Olympics, Sam Perkins, former NBA star and seven year veteran on the Special Olympics board, were among the spectators who enjoyed meeting the athletes that they have so inspired. Celebrities, spectators, and athletes enjoyed a day of sportsmanship and friendship, and perfect strangers got along as if they were lifelong friends!
Freddie Bommer, who has been the assigned photographer for SpecialNeeds.com in this year’s Olympic games, is a great example of hard work and perseverance. Freddie has his own personal reasons for supporting this years world games: both he and his son have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. A picture of his son, Joshua, hangs around his neck, right alongside Freddie’s media credential. When TV personality, Johnny Bananas, from MTV’s “The Challenge,” saw the picture, he insisted on showing it off, as the Special Olympics is a place to celebrate individuals like him!