Local Athlete Competes in the Berlin Special Olympics 2023
Philip Blount, the 30-year-old son of Jane and Phil Blount of Davidson, was one of only two athletes from North Carolina to participate in the Berlin Special Olympics in June 2023. As Philip, a history buff said, “I’ve always wanted to go over there and see that stadium on a tour,” said Philip. “It’s going to be better than that, I’m going to be there competing.”
Philip has been actively involved with Special Olympics for 15 years, training and competing in athletics, basketball and Unified flag football. In Berlin, Philip competed in the 4×100-meter relay, standing shot put, and the 100-meter run. He was a gold medal winner in the standing shot put. Philip also served as the Master of Ceremonies at the Welcoming Dinner in Berlin, along with Victoria Arlen (current television personality for ESPN, an actress, speaker, model, and former paralympic swimmer).
Jane and Phil Blount’s connection to Davidson started in 1985 when Jane accepted an Internship at Davidson College while she was working on her Masters in Sports Management. She worked at Davidson College from 1985 to 1992 in both the Athletics Department and the Development Office.
To prepare for the Special Olympics, Philip trained two days a week after work with Ralph Jones, the head track and field coach at Charlotte Christian School. Coach Jones volunteered to train Philip for the World Games. Since their journey as a coach and athlete began, they have formed a special bond. Philip and his parents traveled to the Special Olympics USA Team Trials in San Antonio, Texas in November 2022, where he learned that he had qualified to compete in Berlin. Philip’s tag line for this year’s competition was “Unbeatable Together.”
While in Berlin, Philip stayed in a hotel for over two weeks with other athletes from around the world. Philip recognizes that he had an opportunity very few people experience, and he saw that there are people like him everywhere. He particularly enjoyed meeting athletes from other countries and exchanging pins with them.
Jane Blount said that when Philip was born, they were repeatedly told what Philip would never be able to do. The Blounts decided to focus on what Philip would be able to do and enrolled him in the Davidson-Cornelius Child Development Center.
One big step in helping Philip achieve his goals came in 2005. As Philip was nearing middle school, his parents realized that a typical college preparatory curriculum would not benefit their son. Because of the need they saw for Philip, Jane and Phil became founding members of Philips Academy in Charlotte, a nonprofit school for students with complex language, learning, and/or cognitive disabilities. Philips Academy was opened with two full-time students and two staff members. The school, now in its 19th year, has 60 students. In 2009, Philips Academy created Bridges, a program for young adults who have graduated from high school and still need vocational training, as well as comprehensive life and social skill instruction.
After graduating from high school at Philips Academy, Philip attended Central Piedmont Community College. He lives on his own in Charlotte with his cat, Cowbell, and works at Charlotte Christian School in food prep and service.
Philip’s determination, hard work, perseverance, and the support of family and friends have given him the experience of a lifetime. Congratulations, Philip!
Allyson Ray has lived in and loved Davidson since 1996. She is a retired financial planner who enjoys retirement more than anyone she knows.