Saturday, March 10th, McGonigle Hall- The inaugural Special Olympics Gymnastics Invitational took place at Temple University and it was a great success. Members from both the Temple Women's and Men's gymnastics teams helped run the event with Special Olympics Philadelphia.
This was primarily made possible through the driving forces of Philadelphia's Special Olympics Gymnastics head coach, Katharine Wenocur, her assistant coach, Ariel Mankin, and Special Olympics Sports director Michelle Cordell. These three along with Temple Women's head coach, Umme Beasley, and Temple Men's head coach, Jesse Kitzen-Abelson, planned the details of the event. The team members from each program along with close family and friends of the gymnastics community, helped put on a memorable event for the stellar gymnasts.
Former club member, Antonio Almeda-Lopez was grateful to be a part of the action on Saturday. "It was such an honor to be a volunteer-judge at this year's first Special Olympics Pennsylvania-Philadelphia Invitational. I was so thrilled and inspired by the countless amount of smiles and encouragement. Gymnastics is truly a sport that can bring a large group of individuals together, and I am proud that I am a part of this community." Almeda-Lopez (pictured above) helped judge the boys' floor, parallel bar, and high bar routines along with current team member Joe Fernandes.
McGonigle Hall is a superb arena to host a gymnastics competition and the competitors soaked in the experience. The gymnasts were happy to compete as they have been working hard in their home gyms in preparation of this event. The field consisted of competitors for men's and women's artistic gymnastics as well as rhythmic.
From singing the national anthem, to competing, to presenting awards; each athlete on Saturday inspired and brought smiles to us all. The Men's and Women's Gymnastics teams were honored to help host this event and all are already looking forward to next year. To find out more information about Special Olympics Philadelphia, please visit their website here- http://www.sopaphilly.org/
Photos by Ariel Mankin and Jessica Palmer