By Dillon Thomas
DENVER (CBS4) – Dozens of Colorado athletes were given an escort to Denver International Airport Saturday as they prepared for the competition of their lifetime.
The Adams County Sheriff’s Office escorted those with the Colorado Unified Special Olympics Delegation as they prepared for a flight to Seattle, Washington. There, they will compete for national medals.
“It is pretty cool. I have never had (a police escort) before,” said Caitlin Hass, a swimmer on the team.
The unified team is a mix of athletes with, and without, intellectual disabilities.
The Colorado delegation was made up of some of Colorado’s best swimmers, track athletes, soccer players and more.
“It is really cool to see the different activities, and sports, people do,” Hass said.
“We worked really hard. We practice three or four times a week,” said Kyle Emery, an athlete from Fort Collins. “This is something, it is an only once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Coaches, mentors, and parents made the flight to the national championships with the delegation.
Director of Competition, Susan Foege, surprised the athletes with another police escort. The Denver Police Department bike patrol escorted the delegation to security and to their gate.
“Once we are here, now, and seeing how excited everyone is, that is really all that matters,” Foege said.
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“I am very excited to support Team Colorado, and to go for the gold,” Emery said.
Those who are awarded gold medals will be entered to compete in the world championships which are expected to take place in Abu Dhabi. Colorado is guaranteed to take at least four athletes, and that number could increase.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.