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Unified relay event pairs high school and Special Olympics athletes at track meet

The Wausau City Track Meet added a new event this year. Wausau West Junior, Trinity Foster organized a relay that merges athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.

“We are all very similar in a lot of ways that I think a lot of people don’t understand,” Foster said.

Foster introduced the 4×100 meter relay at the city meet; the race pairs high school track athletes with Special Olympics athletes as a way to break down stereotypes.

“It’s amazing, they bring so much joy into all of our lives. Every time you walk down the hallway, they are saying hi, giving you high fives,” Foster said.

The race is a way to promote social inclusion through sports — something everyone enjoys.

“I am so happy that the first year we did this, I was the first one to get first place,” Special Olympics athlete Travis Peterson said.

Athletes with disabilities don’t often get a chance to play on their school’s sports teams, but with the addition of unified activities, Foster hopes it will begin to break the mold.

“Being able to do the extracurricular [activities] and see the smiles on their faces is just life changing,” Wausau West junior Marc Sippel said.

Foster said her goal is to have the unified 4×100 meter relay become a staple at the city track & field meet and hopes the relay will give other schools the same idea.

Alexis Geffin

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