Polk Special Olympics athletes earn more than medals

By Stephanie Claytor, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, March 03, 2018, 8:31 PM EST

Special Olympics Florida held its Summer Games across the state Saturday, and one Polk County athlete said he gets more out of it than fitness.

  • Special Olympics Florida hosts Summer Games in Polk
  • High school student Storm Curtis was 1 of more than 250 athletes
  • His father says Games are 'a blessing' in helping Storm be more vocal

More than 250 athletes competed in the Polk County Summer Games, which were held at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven.

“It’s fun, it's really fun to get out there and be active,” said Storm Curtis, who attends Ridge Community High School.

For him, it’s a way to improve his socialization and communication skills.

“It could help me when I move out on my own, so I can socialize with other people,” Curtis said.

His dad, James Curtis, who adopted him out of foster care, said he’s noticing a difference. He said Storm was introverted when he met him.

“When he presented me with this, flag football and this, yeah, he’s coming out of his shell, and I love it,” James Curtis said.

Storm Curtis, who attends Ridge Community High School, said competing in the Summer Games could help him in areas other than athletics. (Stephanie Claytor, staff)

The athletes don’t have to pay to compete in the Games.

“It’s a blessing,” James Curtis said.

Special Olympics Florida Polk County Director Monti Sommer said there’s about 700 Special Olympics athletes in the county.

“A lot of our athletes probably would not have another area to go to compete in any type of sport,” Sommer said.

During the Polk Summer Games, the athletes competed in volleyball, track and field, cycling, bocce and soccer. The winning teams and athletes qualified to advance to the “Area 8 Summer Games in Tampa on March 24.