Athletes go for the gold at day one of Special Olympics Summer Games

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Spearfish, SD Athletes from across South Dakota took the spotlight for the first day of the Special Olympics Summer Games.

Athletes were lifting, kicking, and bumping their way to the gold.

Scott McGee, an athlete, said "It's so fun. It's a fun time here in Spearfish."

Scott McGee is one of the nearly 600 competitors here from across the Mt. Rushmore state.

Today, he served his way to the finish in a game of volleyball - but this athlete of all trades, won't quit here.

McGee said "I like to play volleyball, basketball - anything I like to do. I just do it all."

Events kicked off this morning at Black Hills State University - including power lifting.

Sean Olson, an athlete, said "I get ready, I just focus."

The Summer Games is the finale on months of hard work. Some heavy lifters have even been training since Thanksgiving.

Coach Gary Maffett said "It's just an exhilarating feeling to see these guys accomplish what they set forth and their goal throughout the year."

But the athletes' accomplishments come from more than just sweat and tears - it's the teams' support that lifts them up.

Maffett said "You need the support because it drives them. It's a motivating factor that keeps them going."

They even got motivation from a power-lifting champion.

Bill Kazmaier once held the title of world's strongest man - and has traveled the globe.

But, Special Olympics still tops his list.

Kazmaier said "Saying words like 'I can and I will' are the strongest words in their vocabulary."

The same words that got him where he is Friday.

Bill Kazmaier, a celebrity heavy lifter, said "Success breeds success, and when you can build confidence and self esteem - and know that you're good at some things, it helped out when I was growing up, and it helps these athletes also."

These athletes are anywhere from 8 to 80 years old - but, the only thing that makes them special - is their ability to go above and beyond.

Maffett said "You see the best come out of them. You see the competition that you'd see in anybody - any person that likes to compete."

Events continue tomorrow with track and field.