Billy Quick of High Point, North Carolina was a true ambassador of our movement.
His dazzling physical skills were matched only by his contagious smile and his common-sense approach to leadership. He was a Special Olympics athlete who celebrated everyone’s abilities. He captured it in one quip: “You might be able to out-read me, but I can out-run you!”
Quick passed away over the Thanksgiving weekend at the age of 43.
“He was a hero — a man whose smile and wit and kindness and strength could move hearts like no other," said Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver.
Quick was a leader throughout our movement. He served on the boards of directors for Special Olympics North Carolina and the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Quick took part in the first Global Athlete Congress in 2000.
He traveled the world speaking to schools, civic groups, and business leaders about how Special Olympics changed his life.
“Being in Special Olympics has taught me how to work on my goals,” Quick would tell his audiences. “It taught me how to set goals and reach them.”
He fulfilled a dream by running the 1997 New York Marathon. He helped make history as part of the first U.S. team to run in the Havana, Cuba, marathon in 2000. He once biked across the U.S. in the Face of America Ride.
“For more than three decades Billy has had such a positive impact not just as an athlete, but as a prominent leader in the Special Olympics movement,” said Keith L. Fishburne, president of Special Olympics North Carolina.
“This is heartbreaking,” Shriver said. "I can’t believe we have lost him.”