MACON, Ga. — 190 countries will send athletes to the Special Olympics World Competition in Germany in a few weeks.
The United States is sending two crews, and one of them calls Lake Tobesofkee home.
Phil Martin and James Thigpen are like family, and they will bank on that bond when they compete in the Special Olympics World games in June.
"He taught me when I was a teenager," James said.
"James has been in this program since it began," Phil calculated.
Phil started the program back in 1992, and it's grown like the wind.
When Phil and James show up, chances are folks will already know about the lake Tobesofkee program Macon has quite the reputation.
"We've got some incredible athletes in town, and this is the headquarters for Special Olympics Georgia," Phil said.
In Germany, the guys will climb on a 19-foot sport boat, and they will have much more wind than we saw when we visited them this week.
No matter the weather, James has his job down.
"Pull the sails to the other side of the jib," he explained.
"Special Olympics motto is, 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,' so just getting there for a lot of these athletes is a huge challenge and they've overcome a lot just to be able to be there," Phil said.
James says he's looking forward to the food in Germany, but make no mistake -- every time he gets on the water, it's a thrill.
"Because the wind blows and it turns the boat the other way," James said with a smile.
"What an honor to get to represent the United States, represent Georgia and even more importantly represent Bibb County and Lake Tobesofkee at a world competition," Phil said proudly.
The the honor is all ours.
The guys leave June 10 and get back on June 26.