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More Than a Medal
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) When Iowas Devyn Marble scores a basket, its worth two points. When Special Olympic Athlete Jon Blankenship does the same thing, two points go up on the scoreboard, but its worth just a little bit more.
"What matters is going out there and giving our all. And we'll do whatever we can to bring home a championship, said Blankenship.
"Really any athlete that comes can get out of the experience what is important to them, said Special Olympics Iowas Vice President of Sports Operations and Programs Shane Kiesner.
A banquet on Friday night lets the athletes meet one another.
"We have athletes that come to the Special Olympics just for the social aspect, said Kiesner.
"Like Laurie, she wasn't sure if she should come or not, said Special Olympic Athlete Amanda Oswald. I was like, 'Laurie, I'll be down there,' and she was like, 'Oh yay! I get to stay in the hotel with my friend!"
The games let the athletes show off their skills.
"The things you learn by competing will carry over into your work life, your social life, and it will make you a better person, said Cedar Rapids Coach Rob Wagner.
It might be fun to show off with a bucket from downtown, but its the moments in the few minutes after the games are finished that are most important.
Thats when both teams shake hands.
"That is the most wonderful part because even though they are very competitive, they still are friends at the end, said Coach Patty Carey.
The lessons learned on the court often transcend the game.
"You got to learn how to win gracefully and you got to learn how to lose gracefully also, said Wagner. That's another big life lesson. Life isn't always fair, and this helps show it."
With all the hugs and fist bumps, the medals are clearly just a bonus.