Fans, athletes, and volunteers gathered in the Sanford Health Athletic Complex this past weekend on the campus of North Dakota State University for the third annual ABLE Games. This two-day event was filled with competition, fun, and a whole lot of smiles from everyone involved.

The ABLE Games

The ABLE Games is a functional fitness competition where athletes with a range of fitness levels can compete. Anyone from a seasoned CrossFitter to an individual with special needs can participate. The competition is organized by TNT Kids Fitness, and Gymnastics a Fargo-based gymnastics non-profit whose mission is to “Unlock Potential through Movement by providing fitness and gymnastic programs for athletes with and without special needs.” In 2020, President & CEO Kim Pladson worked with New York Jets Center Connor McGovern to take TNT’s in-house fitness competition and expand it to include all athletes.

The impact of the games can be felt far beyond the confines of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex through the first event of the weekend, the ABLE to Move program. This is where students from around the Fargo area came together for an hour of football-inspired activities alongside current and former NFL Players like Mitch Morse, Connor McGovern, Matt Paradis, and Ben Ellefson, and CrossFit Games Athlete Jenn Dancer. The purpose of this event was to show students of all abilities the value of staying active and getting sixty minutes of play daily.

The Impact

The weekend was full of feats of strength, endurance, and fun, but for some, it’s the effort and passion that the athletes bring to the competition floor that stands out the most.

“I just think it’s wonderful that they push themselves to do their very best,” says Karen, a parent of a competitor. “They are all different levels with all different abilities, and it’s wonderful to see them competing together .”

For others like Kathy Klath, who was working the event, the Able Games symbolize what is possible for all.

“ABLE Games has opened my heart and vision of inclusion. Just seeing that anyone can do this… I just love what I see going on when they are competing. It’s truly heartwarming.”

The ABLE Games also provide a space for athletes to give back and inspire others.

“I wanted to compete because I coach the adaptive crew at TNT” said one competer. “I wanted to be a part of what we do every day and support them!”

Check out the some of the highlights from the weekend below.

The Future

As the ABLE Games looks to next year, one word comes to mind… growth.

“Every year it gets better and better said New York Jets Center, Connor McGovern. We are having a little issue with some weather, but all the athletes that came absolutely dominated. Everybody had such a good time. Every year it gets more and more empowering because more and more people come. I can’t thank all the sponsors enough, the team at TNT, Kim and all the competitors. I’m hoping it keeps growing. We want to keep binging in athletes and impacting more people. With ABLE in Action growing I think the games will keep growing. It’s just so much fun to see all these people get an outlet to compete”

If you would like to be a part of the growth of the ABLE Games, click on the link to find out how to donate and get involved.

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