BELLEAIR (FOX 13) -
Special Olympics strives to transform lives through sports. The state of Florida alone sees 25,000 athletes participate in Special Olympic events.
Seventy Tampa Bay athletes are preparing to compete in the Special Olympics Area Golf Tournament, Sunday, July 20th. The Belleview Biltmore Golf Club hosts the event.
This tournament promotes more than golf -- families and new friends come together in the spirit of competition and fun. Special Olympic athlete Michael Dupre Jr. pairs up with younger brother Joe Dupre as "alternate shot" golfers.
Joe helps coach the team, assisting his brother and other intellectually disabled golfers.
"Well, he's a great golfer and he has a great attitude towards it so it's really fun", says Joe about older brother Mike. "It feels great because you know that you're helping for a good cause and it makes you feel really good as well."
Michael Dupre Sr. takes great pride seeing his two sons participates together in this event.
"I'm very proud of my Special Olympian. I've never seen him more excited about an event or a sport of his,” says Dupre Sr. "And you know my other son being able to help him and compete against some of the other athletes that are older than they are and actually being competitive is awesome."
Special Olympic golfers embrace this opportunity to enjoy the game and the environment. Solo golfers who compete on their own, like Aaron Medlin and David Ringlespaugh, Jr., certainly have fun -- but make no mistake, they are in this to win it.
"I enjoy doing Special Olympics a lot,” Medlin said. “It's a good sport."
The Belleview Biltmore Golf Club staff looks forward to putting on this summer tournament.
"It means the world to us,” said Club Manager Bryan Cox. "This event is great. It's great for the community. We're all excited to be a part of this and all these athletes in our eyes are champions already."