Murray to compete in first national games
Murray will travel to Ames, Iowa, this weekend, for the firstever Special Olympics USA National Games. From July 2 to 7, Murray will compete and make friends with athletes from all over the country. If her winning smile and firm handshake are any indications of her abilities, Murray should return as a champion Olympian.
Ames will host 3,000 athletes from 50 states, and Murray will go as a member of the Rhode Island delegation of 39 athletes and 14 coaches. Murray plans to enter three events in Track and Field: the 800and 400-meter runs, and the running long jump. "It's my first national Special Olympics!" Murray exclaimed.
A 2005 graduate of North Kingstown High School, Murray said she has been involved in the Special Olympics for six years. Three years ago, when she was 16 years old, Murray flew to Dublin, Ireland, to participate in the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games. She played soccer, and her team secured fifth place. "It was my first trip abroad, and I went without my family, just the coach and teammates," Murray said. She claims an Irish heritage, which made the trip to Ireland extra special.
The international event sparked Murray's interest in more travel. "I want to go to England, and maybe Italy," she said. The global interaction has affected Murray in other ways, too, and she sees the value of intercultural communication. "I want to go to college. I want to study Spanish," she said.
For Murray, the most exciting part of the Special Olympics games is the exercise itself. "Exercising is a part of life. When I practice, I can see how improved I get," Murray said. She tries to make time to practice every day, in the mornings or in the afternoons, or whenever she can find free time. "The more you practice, the better you get," she added.
Last Monday evening, she and her parents attended a "send-off" dinner for the Rhode Island athletes going to Iowa and their families. Murray's parents had a chance that night to see her with her friends and fellow Olympians before she gets on a plane again to go compete.
When asked what she most expects to get out of the national event, Murray responded with a big grin, "A whole lot of exercise." Murray praised the national and international games, saying, "They're great events to find friends."
Born and raised on the north end of the island, Murray keeps busy with sports, reading, and listening to music. She can be seen at McQuade's Marketplace, where she has worked for three years. Murray's profile can be found online at www.2006nationalgames.org.
Good luck and have great fun, Teresa.