Athlete Tracy Galey and coach Sandy Hearn to attend Special Olympics

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Vicksburg will be well represented at the Special Olympics this year, as Tracy Galey will compete as a swimmer after winning at the state competition, and Assistant Director of Area 10 Special Olympics Sandy Hearn, who will be coaching the Mississippi team in bocce ball.

“It’s awesome,” Hearn said of Galey qualifying for the national competition. “You just don’t get chosen. You have to compete in our area level, and you have to win first place in order to even be considered for nationals. Then she went and competed at our state level, and she won first place at state level.”

In total, 48 athletes and coaches from Mississippi will be attending, participating in sports such as flag football, bowling, swimming, track and field and bocce ball.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Before they leave, they will first attend a send-off party thrown by Gov. Phil Bryant at the Governor’s mansion at 1 p.m. on Friday.

“I think it is really cool,” Hearn said. “Our official office for Special Olympics is located in Jackson, and the governor has really participated with our Special Olympics in Mississippi these last couple of years, so he’s been a really good supporter of us. I think we’re all excited.”

In order to qualify, Galey competed all year long.

“Our special Olympics area games start in August, then we do something all during the year, then we finish in May when we go compete at our state games, and then we start back in August when school starts back,” Hearn said.

Galey even put in extra work to make her dream come true.

“Tracy has been training in swimming ever since February,” Hearn said. “She’s been having to travel out of town to go meet with her swim coach and her team. I think they’ve had six practices out of town. In the mean time, I’m here and training her locally.”

It is Hearn’s third time attending the Special Olympics.

She lauded how well put together the event was, and how well all of the athletes and coaches were treated during the trip. Hearn also said it was great to see the athletes recognized for their hard work.

“They all try really hard,” Hearn said. “All of the athletes enjoy every single sport that they participate in, to them a gold medal is like a million bucks. They really enjoy what they do. It’s not a competition to them, its just having fun.”