New Hope Services Special Olympics coach John Lair and his powerlifting athlete Chevi Peters embarked for California on July 21 to compete in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Since then, they have been focusing on training for Tuesday, when Peters takes the stage and competes.

“It’s been really wonderful. We’ve had a lot of good times,” Lair said. “The opening ceremony was probably the highlight of everything so far. Chevi got to go on stage and do the athlete oaths on ESPN in front of everybody, so it was pretty exciting.”

Peters, who will compete in the deadlift, squat, bench and combination categories for powerlifting, will be vying for gold at 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (11 a.m. Central) today.

To motivate himself Peters relies on the energy he gets from listening to rap music.

“I just listen to music, that’s what gets me really pumped up,” Peters said.

Lair said each athlete — about 167 of them — will take the stage to compete in the categories one at a time.

Peters wasn’t the only New Hope athlete to earn a trip to the Special Olympics. His teammate Cody Pierce was one of 10 chosen to run the final leg of the torch run across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

“We got to see him on Saturday, very little,” Lair said. “It was just awesome to see. He’s been basically running for the last two weeks for the Torch Run and it was awesome to see how well he was getting along with the officers and how well he was doing. He was excited to go home, but it was just a great experience for him.”

According to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games’ website — www.specialolympics.org — 6,500 athletes from 165 nations will compete in 25 Olympic-type sports, to include acquatics, gymnastics, track and field — and in Peters’ case — powerlifting.

“I feel very excited,” Peters said. “I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for this moment. It means to me that all my hard work and dedication is finally about to be paid off.

“Working out in the gym two times a day, I feel very happy to be here. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The games are currently underway and will last through Aug. 2.