Boothbay region Special Olympians Amber Hyson and Ronda LeConte and fellow Maine teammates returned to applause at Portland Jetport June 12 after competing at the National Special Olympics Games in Orlando, Florida. Hyson and LeConte were among those competing in swimming events as well as bowling, bocce, tennis and athletics. Along with coaches and staff, the athlets were joined by Unified Partners and Youth Ambassadors.
Ronda won eighth place for her 50m backstroke, fourth for her 50m breaststroke and bronze for her 4x25m relay. Amber won eighth place for her 25m backstroke, fourth for her 25m freestyle and bronze for her 4x25m relay.
“Well wishes, flowers, signs, balloons, smiles and tears were waiting for athletes among family, friends, many of the law enforcement people who continually support Maine Special Olympics, and airport personnel,” said Coach Toby LeConte. “We had champions and plenty of them.”
Amber and Ronda had an experience filled with grand opening ceremonies, trips to Disney World and Animal Kingdom, gatherings at the Disney Wide World of Sports and ESPN, awards ceremonies and more. Coach LeConte said both athletes were so happy with their coaches and home-state team members and with themselves. Amber and Ronda reported the intense amount of practice ahead of the games paid off tremendously. “Boy, it was so hot!” Amber said.
“The favorite part for both girls was being with friends and making new friends,” Coach LeConte said. “Ronda was on a mission to ask the law enforcement people to trade pins and Amber was interested in all the activities offered.”