Special Olympic athletes return with the gold

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - In June, 13 Special Olympic athletes from KOTA Territory boarded the plane to compete at the USA Games in Seattle.

When they returned, they returned with gold, silver and bronze medals.

In total, 51 athletes and unified partners competed in the games from South Dakota and were awarded 35 gold medals, counting each individual on teams, as well as 10 silver and 17 bronze.

Five of those medals were awarded to West River athletes on the South Dakota softball team who took home the gold in the tournament.

The gold medalists are Josh Gilbert, Derek Boegel, David Tanner, Mike Estman and Eva Blake.

They versed nine states and played six games, scoring a total of 114 runs and only allowing 37.

They say winning was a dream come true.

"It was like when the Cubs won," said Gilbert.

"It was the best day of my life and a lot of people's lives, so it was great," said Amy Rose Jobgen, a coach.

Addison Whitney from Rapid City took the gold medal in the 50 meter backstroke. She says she's sore from the games, but she's strong.

When asked if she was nervous to defend her title at the next games, she said, "I'm not scared."

Matt Morin, also from Rapid City, took a silver in bocce ball singles and bronze in unified doubles.

Kent Mulholland took gold in the 25 and 50 meter backstroke and Megan Mills took gold in the 100 meter butterfly.

Mulholland, Mills and Whitney also won bronze in the 4 by 50 meter freestyle.

Garet Alickson also competed along with the unified partners Joe Burmeister, Tealayna Hill, and Gary Alickson.