AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Nearly 2,000 athletes and coaches gathered this weekend for the New York Special Olympics.
People with special needs competed in eight different sports including: aquatics, bowling, power lifting, tennis, gymnastics, and much more. Some of the competitors are past and future participants in the Special Olympic World Games.
News 4's Nalina Shapiro met one inspiring athlete, Vince Golda and his relatives.
The Golda family had a golden moment Saturday at the Olympics. Vince's mother Joan Golda said, " I feel like a child on Christmas Eve just waiting. I can't believe how excited I was about these games."
For the first time their 22-year-old son, who is intellectually challenged, is playing basketball in the Special Olympics.
"When you have a child with developmental disabilities, they tend to be alone. It's hard to find a community," Joan said.
The games played at University at Buffalo, gave the competitors a community and much more.
"Playing as a team then helps them out in the regular world; helps them get jobs or the social skills that they might miss," Joan said.
The special Olympian himself said, "I'm going to remember just being here making a lot of friends, meeting all the teams that are here, and the competitions."
The games brought back some tough memories for the Golda family. Vince said he played the games for his brother Aaron who was his role model.
Aaron died from an overdose on medication for a shoulder injury. Vince looked up to Aaron who used to play basketball and almost became a professional player.
Joan said their faith is what keeps them strong, "God has been so big in our lives," she said. They believe their faith has helped them along the way, especially when a doctor told Vince he would never play basketball.
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