MCAS Iwakuni hosts 2019 Special Olympics

Frank Thornton, left, assistant director of the national sports committee of Special Olympics Japan explains the events to local Japanese athletes during the 2019 Special Olympics at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Oct. 13, 2019. The Special Olympics was held in order to provide Marines and Japanese families volunteer opportunities with each other in a cultural exchange. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai)
Frank Thornton, left, assistant director of the national sports committee of Special Olympics Japan explains the events to local Japanese athletes during the 2019 Special Olympics at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Oct. 13, 2019. The Special Olympics was held in order to provide Marines and Japanese families volunteer opportunities with each other in a cultural exchange. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai)

MCAS Iwakuni hosts 2019 Special Olympics

by Lance Cpl Triton Lai
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Japan (Oct. 18th, 2019) -- U.S. Marines and Japanese families attended the 13th annual Special Olympics at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Oct. 13, 2019.

The Special Olympics was coordinated by Frank Thornton, assistant director of the national sports committee of Special Olympics Japan and Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS).

“We tried to provide a place for the athletes to get involved and let the community get to know the athletes,” said Thornton. “We have 184 people coming from off base including families and coaches.”

It provided events for athletes to compete in such as; disc golf, a bicycle race and soccer.

There were over 100 volunteers helping with the event, one of those being U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Tyree Dodson, a mobile facility technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 12.

“It was definitely a positive and fun experience for me, seeing the athletes interacting with the volunteers and enjoying themselves, it felt great and fulfilling,” said Dodson.

In addition to the sports events, the Olympics provided the opportunity for residents on base to learn more about the Japanese communities and athletes from off base.

Thornton said the Special Olympics is a lifestyle and is a part of his life and he wouldn’t know what to do without it.

After the events, the athletes and Japanese families ended the night with bowling at the Strike Zone Bowling Center on base.

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