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'I feel included': Bowling Green hosts celebration for Special Olympian gold medalists

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Lisa Autry
Brianna Goode (left) and Casey Freeman are natives of southern Kentucky and won gold medals at the recent Special Olympics.

Two young women from southern Kentucky are being celebrated for their performances in this summer’s Special Olympics USA Games.

Brianna Goode of Glasgow and Casey Freeman of Franklin brought home gold medals from the games in Orlando, Fla. this month. The city of Bowling Green held a welcome home celebration for the two athletes at Circus Square Park on Monday.

Goode, who received two golds for individual and doubles bowling, was amazed by all of the community support.

“It means a lot. I never thought I’d get to this point in my life and now I almost feel like a celebrity and I don’t really know how to cope with just yet," Goode said as she chuckled.

Goode plans to attend Western Kentucky University in the fall and major in exercise science.

Her teammate Casey Freeman, who also received a gold medal in doubles bowling, said competing in Special Olympics has made her feel more accepted and valued.

“I like competing because I feel included," Freeman told WKU Public Radio.

Cameron Levis works for Bowling Green Parks and Recreation and serves as Special Populations Coordinator for the city.

"People with disabilities, so often there's a negative connotation with that," Freeman said. "Everyone thinks about what they're not able to do, but what we're doing is showing what they're capable of doing when we give them that opportunity."

Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott presented both athletes keys to the city in
honor of their achievements in the USA Games.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.