Meet Lani DeMello

"Special Olympics made me a more outgoing person. Before, I was shy. Now I feel I can accomplish anything," says Special Olympics athlete Lani DeMello.

A World of Opportunities

Lani was born with intellectual disabilities and a heart defect, and her doctors didn’t believe that she was ever going to amount to much. As they discharged Lani from the hospital as an infant, doctors told her mother, “Take her home. She’s never going to achieve anything.” Flash forward 30 years and Lani is a Special Olympics gold medalist many times over and a source of inspiration to her friends and family. 
Watch Lani DeMello take the floor and hear what Special Olympics means to Lani, her mother, and her coach.

From Athlete to Role Model

Lani found Special Olympics when she was 13 years old. At her first gymnastics competition, she won almost all gold medals. In addition to being a gold medalist, she has officiated at Special Olympics events, most recently at the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles. She also serves as a gymnastics coach, works at a health clinic, and volunteers as a clerk at a local high school. Check out the slideshow below.
  • Lani at the 2015 World Games.
  • Lani competes in rhythmic gymnastics.
  • Training for the 2014 USA Games.
  • Lani performed at the Houston County Queen of Summer pageant.
  • In her spare time, Lani enjoys painting.
  • She also works at a local health clinic and volunteers at the local high school.
  • "Special Olympics has opened a whole new world for Lani" -- Lani's mother, Ana
  • In addition to being a Special Olympics athlete, she is also a Special Olympics official and a gymnastics coach. Donate today.

Help Us Reach Out to One More Person

For every athlete like Lani there are many more we haven't reached. Help us reach one more person who wants to participate in Special Olympics. Donate today.