Athlete excited for Kadena Special Olympics

by Senior Airman Omari Bernard, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 16th annual Kadena Special Olympics is scheduled for Nov. 7 and athletes around the island prepare for their event as the day steadily comes closer on the calendar. The one-day sporting event will host more than 1,000 special needs athletes and artists from around Okinawa, participating in a day of competition, music and special recognition.  

Events include track and field, wheelchair events, hockey, basketball and much more. There will even be an art exhibit featuring hundreds of special needs artists held inside the gym.

Ty Murdock, 18, is one out of the hundreds of athletes competing in this year's KSO. He is in the 12th grade at Kadena High School and helps coach physical education, stocks the cafeteria milk and in his spare time enjoys playing guitar and singing. Since he is the honorary captain for his high school varsity football team, his favorite sport is American football, and is the defending champion for last year's 30-meter dash at the KSO.  

"I got my first gold medal last year," said Murdock. "I'm going to try and do it again this year."

The KSO grows in size every year, bringing thousands of Okinawan and American people together in support of special needs and friendly competition. Murdock said he practices for the event by running around his neighborhood block and hiking for miles with his father.

"We often go on evening walks together," said Gordon Murdock, 18th Force Support Squadron community services flight chief and Ty's father. "Most of time he starts running and I can't keep up."

With the games less than two weeks away Murdock can hardly contain his excitement. According to his father this will be his eighth year competing at the event on Kadena Air Base.

"This is something he looks forward to every year," said Gordon. "I hope he has fun."

While Murdock likes racing, he enjoys the recognition more. The KSO is more than just an event, but an opportunity for communities to come together in support of the artists and athletes to create lasting memories.

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