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Daniel Smrokowski, Special Olympics Athlete, Illinois and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger

Daniel Smrokowski

Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger

Communication is Daniel Smrokowski’s biggest struggle but also his biggest passion. This led him to start his own media company, Special Chronicles, to face his challenges instead of running away from them. It all began when he became a Special Olympics athlete in his home state of Illinois competing in swimming and basketball.

Special Olympics gave Daniel the voice to make an impact in the world beyond sport. With the confidence he gained from Special Olympics, Daniel found additional abilities as a writer and podcaster. He decided to hone his skills by attending Roosevelt University in Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. While at Roosevelt, Daniel received the 2012 Matthew Freeman Award for Social Justice for his continuing efforts via media and reporting to give people with disabilities a voice.

Along with Special Olympics, one of Daniel’s passions is his media company, Special Chronicles. Special Chronicles is a nonprofit media platform which gives respect and a voice to people with disabilities. Special Chronicles produces podcasts, award-winning columns, and news stories that have reached over 42,000 monthly viewers worldwide. Awards received due to his work at Special Chronicles include first place for “Best Original Column” in the 2016 Illinois Press Association.

One of Daniel’s proudest achievements was being a member of the 50th Anniversary Marketing & Communications Committee where he worked Unified, helping his colleagues develop and initiate communications and media relations. Perhaps his most notable contribution was being a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2022, he will continue working Unified as a part of the Special Olympics USA Communications team for the World Winter Games in Kazan, Russia. He looks forward to contributing as a media expert to serve Special Olympics and his fellow athletes throughout the globe.

In late 2019, Daniel was one of four Special Olympics athletes whom our global partner, United Airlines, employed as a Special Olympics Service Ambassador. This new unified employment program is groundbreaking as United is taking inclusion to new heights.

Starting in 2019, Daniel was named Co-Chair of the Athlete Leadership Council for Special Olympics Illinois, where he still holds that position today. The Athlete Leadership Council provides input to SO Illinois, mentors other athlete peers, and co-facilitates athlete leadership training and workshops. In addition, Daniel personally moderates orientation training for new members of the Special Olympics Illinois Board of Directors.

None of this would be possible without the encouragement and strength of Daniel’s loving family, including his father, his mother, and his sisters. To quote his mother, “If all the world were like Special Olympics, then there would be no wars.”

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