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  • Lezlie Sterling / Sacramento Bee

    Runners compete in the 100 meter run at the UC Davis Toomey field during the 2013 summer games of the Special Olympics Northern California, Saturday, June 29, 2013.

  • Lezlie Sterling / Sacramento Bee

    Branden Grabach, 16, of Antelope, center, gets a gold medal and a handshake from Lori Bush, right, of BART at the UC Davis campus during the 2013 summer games of the Special Olympics Northern California. Saturday, June 29, 2013. Grabach ran in the 100 meter run.

  • Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

    Craig Van Anne, left, a co-director with the tennis competition celebrates with Lauren Lennigan after she hit balls during the 2013 summer games of the Special Olympics Northern California, Saturday, June 29, 2013 Welch Tennis Center at UC Davis.

  • Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

    Joseph Warren of the East Bay Buffaloes competes in the shot-put competition during the 2013 summer games of the Special Olympics Northern California, Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Toomey field at UC Davis.

  • Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

    Chris Pinnell, 24, of Santa Cruz runs the 100 meter run at Toomey Field at UC Davis during the 2013 summer games of the Special Olympics Northern California, Saturday, June 29, 2013.

  • Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

    Marshall Del Nero of Stanislaus runs the 100 meter run during the 2013 summer games of the Special Olympics Northern California, Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Toomey field at UC Davis.

Heat prompts Special Olympics organizers to adjust

Published: Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013 - 3:26 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 3, 2013 - 11:49 pm

Heat was the unwanted guest at the Special Olympics competition held at UC Davis today, as officials scrambled to get events finished before temperatures blasted to triple-digits.

"We just tipped over to 100 degrees in the last hour," Drew Peterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said at about 2:15.

Forecasters are predicting the high for today to top out at 107 degrees. The heat streak is expected to continue through next Friday and possibly Saturday.

At UC Davis late this morning, Don Drapeau of El Dorado Hills was hiding in the shadow of bleachers, not far from the track where his daughter was scheduled to compete. The hot weather forced organizers to cancel some of the events, including an afternoon relay race.

"It's just too hot," said Drapeau, 66, who had on a pair of sunglasses and a T-shirt.

"This is bad," his wife Barbara added.

Armed with tents and bottled water, the throngs of volunteers and family members tried their best to cope with the heat. The 17th annual Special Olympics in Northern California kicked off Friday and will run through Sunday. Athletes compete in a variety of activities including track, swimming, bocce and tennis.

Anna Oleson-Wheeler, spokeswoman for the event, said they were prepared to cancel the games if the heat got out of hand. Organizers mobilized 75 medical staff and handed out water freely. A few people were treated for heat-related illnesses.

Still, the heat didn't stop Terence Hong, 20, from scoring a gold medal in the 100 meter dash.

"It's good, it's fun," the San Franciscan said.

Mother Darlene Hong gushed with pride as she discussed how the Special Olympics has become a "second family" for Terence, who is autistic.

"The program has really helped our children develop social skills, sportsmanship and respect," she said.

Call The Bee's Richard Chang, (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter: @RichardYChang

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Richard Chang



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