By Senior Airman Omari Bernard, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 28, 2015
Ty Murdock, Kadena High School 12th grade student, is the honorary captain for his high school football team and competes annually at the Kadena Special Olympic games on Kadena Air Base. Murdock will go for gold again in the KSO after finishing in first place last year. He enjoys the applause and cheering from the crowd when he races in the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard)
Ty Murdock, Kadena High School 12th grade student, practices for the 30-meter dash of the Kadena Special Olympics at the high school track Oct. 27, 2015, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Murdock will compete again this year at the KSO. Last year, he placed first in his heat and practices for this year’s event by running around his neighborhood block and hiking for miles with his father. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Omari Bernard)
The 16th annual Kadena Special Olympics is scheduled for Nov. 7 and athletes around the island prepare for their event as the day steadily comes closer on the calendar. The one-day sporting event will host more than 1,000 special needs athletes and artists from around Okinawa, participating in a day of competition, music and special recognition.
Events include track and field, wheelchair events, hockey, basketball and much more. There will even be an art exhibit featuring hundreds of special needs artists held inside the gym.
Ty Murdock, 18, is one out of the hundreds of athletes competing in this year's KSO. He is in the 12th grade at Kadena High School and helps coach physical education, stocks the cafeteria milk and in his spare time enjoys playing guitar and singing. Since he is the honorary captain for his high school varsity football team, his favorite sport is American football, and is the defending champion for last year's 30-meter dash at the KSO.
"I got my first gold medal last year," said Murdock. "I'm going to try and do it again this year."
The KSO grows in size every year, bringing thousands of Okinawan and American people together in support of special needs and friendly competition. Murdock said he practices for the event by running around his neighborhood block and hiking for miles with his father.
"We often go on evening walks together," said Gordon Murdock, 18th Force Support Squadron community services flight chief and Ty's father. "Most of time he starts running and I can't keep up."
With the games less than two weeks away Murdock can hardly contain his excitement. According to his father this will be his eighth year competing at the event on Kadena Air Base.
"This is something he looks forward to every year," said Gordon. "I hope he has fun."
While Murdock likes racing, he enjoys the recognition more. The KSO is more than just an event, but an opportunity for communities to come together in support of the artists and athletes to create lasting memories.