WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Over the weekend, the Kansas Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Maize South High School. A competitor in those games will leave the United States this weekend to represent his country at the Special Olympic World Games in Berlin.
At a recent track practice at Wichita Collegiate School, Courtney Davis is carrying a bottle of water while running laps around the track.
There’s a good reason for that.
The 37-year-old is one of eight Americans selected to run the torch in the final leg of the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin. It’s the first time an Olympian from Wichita will participate in the torch run.
“It’s a real honor. It’s definitely an honor. It’ll be nice,” said Davis.
“Oh, this is one of the most highest honors any athletes could receive. I mean, there’s honors to be in the Hall of Fame or to go to national games or world games. But to actually be involved with the torch run and be at the world games in a foreign country. Especially since the torch run started here in Wichita, Kansas. I mean, it’s just an awesome feeling. It’s awesome for me just to have an athlete from our team going and representing Wichita and Kansas and the United States,” said Kim Mudd, volunteer program coordinator for the Wichita Independents.
Mudd is Davis’ Special Olympics coach. He’s been an active Special Olympics athlete for 20 years. Kansas Special Olympics nominated Davis, and the organization tried to surprise him with the good news in Topeka this spring.
“It was a surprise because my coach wanted to surprise me by going down to Topeka and saying you’re supposed to pass out awards, you know. And I didn’t,” said Davis.
“When they were talking about who was going to be selected to run the last leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Berlin, and then they announced his name, it was like, the look on his face was worth a $1,000. He said, ‘You’re kidding. You’re kidding me’. And he says, ‘I knew something was up.’ He says, ‘I never get chosen to hand out awards.’ He says, ‘I’m so excited. I’m gonna make you proud, and I’m gonna practice,'” said Mudd.
“Just real happy,” said Davis with a smile.
Davis, who specializes in distance races such as the 800, mile, and 3,200-meter runs, will run the torch approximately six miles through Germany’s capital city.
“It’ll be fun. It’s gonna be longer distances down there in Berlin anyways. So, I like to run anyways,” he said.
“It’ll be a trip in a lifetime for him to go, and memories. Oh my gosh, he’ll have memories that he won’t ever forget,” said Mudd.
Davis departs from Kansas City this Saturday with a police officer who will accompany him throughout the ten-day trip. This will be his first trip outside of the country.
Although Davis won’t be participating in the World Games, the event will showcase 7,000 Special Olympians from across the globe. The state of Kansas will be represented by a unified volleyball team.