BENTON, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After two years, the Bossier Parish Spring Special Olympics took place at Benton Track Thursday.

Volunteers, families, and Bossier Parish educators cheered on athletes that participated in the Olympics.

“It’s a huge deal for these kids. This is like their Superbowl, “said Brittney Copeland, parent of one of the athletes.

The pandemic put the games on a two-year hiatus. Many special needs athletes were in the high-risk category for COVID. But on Thursday, COVID was all forgotten as families and kids hit the track behind Benton Middle School.

“It’s very emotional for me to watch. I love seeing it. This is just again one of the best days of these kids’ lives. And they look forward to this every single year,“ Copeland said.

For Kenin Thomas, this was his family’s first time participating in the Special Olympics. He said he is already looking forward to next year.

“In the years to come, I’m going to come and support. You know me being a dad of a child with special abilities,“ Thomas said.

It may seem like all fun and games, but these athletes train extremely hard for their events.

“They been working on this since January on all the events of running, jumping, and softball throws.” volunteer Debbie Sites said.

Organizers said it was hard to take a break considering how much the community looks forward to it, and they’re excited to be back.

“25 years doing this, it’s just wonderful and then once we retire, we always come back and volunteer. It’s just a joy to our hearts and puts a smile on our faces. It’s the best day of the year.”

The Bossier Parish Spring Olympics will resume on April 8, 2022, for Bossier middle and high school students.