What are the ABLE Games?
ABLE Games is the regions first all-inclusive functional fitness competition that celebrates all abilities, from the highly skilled athlete to an individual with special needs. There are no barriers on the competition floor; just athletes giving it all and leaving it out on the floor!
In June 2006, a small group of individuals designed a 20,000 sq. ft. dream center. An inclusive gymnastics space with innovative programming for physical activity to serve children with special needs alongside competitive athletes. TNT organized to include and serve a population that did not have the same opportunities the typical child may have for economic, civic, and social participation. TNT’s mission “Unlock Potential through Movement” believes that children with special needs should be given the opportunity to mainstream into programs with their peers or be active side by side!
As our clients grew older, so did our mission. We sought out ways to serve our clients to ensure their health and wellness could continue well into their adulthood. TNT added adult year-round fitness programs and designed a competition for individuals with special needs to compete against their peers. This competition was named Fargo Mania. Over 80 athletes competed against each other and trained in CrossFit gyms across the Fargo-Moorhead communities for 8 weeks prior to the competition.
It wasn’t until Kim Pladson, President & CEO, met with Connor McGovern, New York Jets Center and Fargo native to design, brand, and include all athletes to compete side by side! 2021 was the inaugural year for ABLE Games which was comprised of 75 teams: 150 athletes, 200+ volunteers, and hundreds of spectators over the two days cheering on the athletes!
Kim’s Personal Story
Meet my friend Jackie. We became friends over the years and decided we should compete in the 2021 ABLE Games. While I had a smile on my face, inside, I was pretty terrified.
Jackie had been coming to TNT for years and works out 2 times a week religiously. She is a competitor, that much I know. Why was I terrified? I had never competed before in a modified fitness competition. I work out, love to be active, however, ABLE Games seemed way out of my league. As the leader of TNT, I wanted to experience our mission first hand. ‘Walk the walk’ as they say.
As we began the competition, I quickly realized Jackie was in control. I just followed her lead and felt her energy. I needed to rely on Jackie’s experience of competing and quickly realized together we made an awesome team! We cheered for each other, discovered more about our families, work, likes and dislikes. I never expected that ABLE Games would provide me with a life-changing experience. I am so grateful “I tried” and I didn’t let the fear of the unknown stop me from signing up! This experience certainly provided me with how together we can all CHANGE the WORLD to include all abilities in our work, play, and life!