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Special Olympics bowling tournament returns to Bangor

"Your ability to do this, it's a special gift that no one can never ever take for granted," one athlete said.

BANGOR, Maine — Special Olympics Maine serves as an outlet for athletes across the state to make new friends and test their skills on the playing field.

The first state bowling tournament since 2019 is back in person after a hiatus due to the pandemic.

"We're building back. We're coming back and giving our athletes the playing fields they deserve to compete on," Special Olympics Maine's director of sports and programs, Mike Littlefield, said.

But what makes Special Olympics unique is it goes beyond the sports being played.

"Your ability to do this, it's a special gift that no one can never ever take for granted," athlete Bryce Hubbard said. "I make connections with people and my friends because [it's] with friends that I can relate [to]."

The organization and its opportunities are a big part of the athletes' lives. Some may even say the word "big" is underwhelming.

"Actually, it changed my life," athlete Jewel Anderson said.

In addition to health and physical fitness, Special Olympics provides great opportunities to make new connections.

"Special Olympics is definitely a huge way to make new friends and meet new people and just go along with the community and have fun," Olivia Hassell, an athlete, said.

"I was someone that would never really be outside. I didn't really like being around people, and coming to the event has really helped me out," William Wentworth, an athlete, said.

The next big fundraising event for Special Olympics Maine is the Lobster Dip. On New Year's day, people will be taking a dip in the ice-cold waters at Old Orchard Beach.

Still want to support the organization without taking the dip? Click here.

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