NORMAL, Ill.— Nealry 4,000 Special Olympic athletes from across the state are competing in Normal this weekend. But their ultimate goal isn't about winning the gold.
Organizers say the Special Olympics is about personal achievement and social interaction.
Volunteers and coaches work with the athletes before and during the competition.
Some coaches even perform the gymnastics routines with the athletes to make them feel more comfortable.
Gymnastics Coach Jennifer Hitt says there's one key factor that helps drive gymnasts to do their best.
She said, “A lot of these kids are motivated by music and they really enjoy getting to hear the songs and learning the new routines. They like the challenge. They get a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment."
Coach Hitt says at her gym in southern Illinois, both traditional and Special Olympic athletes train together and support each other.
The Special Olympic Summer Games wrap up Sunday in Normal.