Local athlete going to Special Olympics

Posted by Claire Hosmann – bio |email 
Reported by Gavin Johnson – bio |email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -On Friday, February 12th, all eyes will be on the athletes competing in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

But this summer, all eyes will be on one athlete from our area who will be competing in 2010 National Special Olympics.

Felicia Jennings, a seventh grader at Leland Middle school, is preparing for the National Special Olympic Games. She's the only athlete from New Hanover and Brunswick County going to the games.

From now until July, 14-year old Felicia will spend at least 2 hours everyday working on her Bocce skills. 38-thousand athletes participate with Special Olympics North Carolina. Felicia is one of 50 chosen to represent the state at the National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska.

"I'm nervous, looking forward to making new friends, and excited about going to a new city," said Felicia. Felicia has already had a stellar athletic career with the Special Olympics, winning 19 medals and 12 ribbons.

After competing for 7 years, this is her first time being invited to the National Special Olympics.

Felicia is slightly mentally challenged and has a blood disease.

She is using her accomplishments to prove people who make fun of those with special needs wrong.

"I hope they won't make fun of us anymore because they will realize we can do everything they can, but in our own different way," said Felicia.

Felicia's mother Joyce Hall says she's glad her daughter is an inspiration to others with special needs. "It's very important, " said Hall. "A lot of the kids we get in Special Olympics don't have confidence right away and they see kids like Felicia and they get a lot of confidence. Once they get confidence there's no stopping them."

Between now and this summer, Felicia will keep working on her Bocce skills so she can be unstoppable and continue inspiring others with special needs.

"They can do anything they put their minds to," said Felicia.

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