Special Olympics athletes inspire everywhere they go, and this year, some are inspiring brand new audiences. As excitement builds for this summer’s London 2012 Olympics, several Special Olympics athletes are blazing a trail as part of the 70-day Olympic Torch Relay during the runup to the Summer Games.
Stephanie Handojo is known for her aquatics skills and won a gold medal at her first Special Olympics World Games last year in Athens, Greece. But this month, she's switching to running, as she takes up the Olympic torch on its way through Nottingham, England. Stephanie, who has Down syndrome, has come into her own since joining Special Olympics. UNICEF nominated the Indonesian swimmer because of “her determination, and her success." A UNICEF spokeswoman calls Stephanie “a true role model” who has “demonstrated that all children, regardless of ability or circumstances, can reach their potential when given the right opportunity, support and assistance.”
In addition to her skills as an athlete, Stephanie has been perfecting her talents on the piano. She even holds a record for playing 22 songs within 2 hours on the piano. She’s coming from half a world away to take part in the Relay, and will be accompanied on her run by Alex Eustace, a tennis player who won gold and silver at last year’s World Summer Games in Athens.