Midlands middle school student competing in Special Olympics USA - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Midlands middle school student competing in Special Olympics USA

Special Olympics Athlete Chase McCarty Special Olympics Athlete Chase McCarty
Chase McCarty and coach Emily House Chase McCarty and coach Emily House
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Chase McCarty has smile that's priceless.

The Irmo Middle School student is looking forward to smiling a lot as she competes in the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.

"I will make some friends," she said.

McCarty is one of four gymnasts from South Carolina going to the national competition this weekend. She doesn't let cerebral palsy stop her from doing what she loves in the gym.

"I love to do the vault," she said.

Gymnastics started as a form of physical therapy when McCarty was a little girl, to help improve her flexibility.

"To overcome the flexibility issues gymnastics has definitely helped with all the different movements and the different skill progressions that we've used with Chase," said her coach, Emily House.

We caught up with McCarty and House at All-Star Gymnastics in Columbia as they trained for the national competition. 170 athletes, coaches and staff are traveling to Princeton, NJ for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

"Chase started in our recreational gymnastics program, so she was actually in a class with all the other students," said House. "And then we started a special needs program, which she became a part of, and she actually helped us grow. She was the first one to compete for All-Star in the Special Olympics and now it has grown to nine kids."

House says making it to the national competition is a great honor for McCarty. And she's ready to compete.

"It gives her an outlet of something to do," House said. "It's changed her perspective from 'I'm just going through the motions, I'm gonna' do these things,' to 'Wow! I can actually achieve something. I can win. I can be the top person.'"

"I am an Olympian," McCarty said. "And I want to win."

Team South Carolina leaves from Columbia Metropolitan Airport Saturday, June 14 at 1 p.m.. The public is welcome to cheer them as they take off.

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