Throughout the Special Olympics community, 2020 has been a year full of unprecedented events and obstacles, many of which have never been encountered. As many things have changed, one thing has stayed consistent: the number of outstanding coaches still substantially impacting their communities.
In 2004, 14-year old Ashley Adie experienced true inclusion for the first time. During a Special Olympics British Columbia Regional swim meet, Adie would enjoy the competition, but she found something much more than the ribbons and personal bests that day.
There he is, alone, with mother nature. Unlacing his shoes and removing his socks, he walks barefoot on the Iowa soil. Depending on the day, a shadow might reflect off the cool grass. The crisp sharpness of the earth glides across his skin helping Tyler Leech disconnect from the world.
Melissa Reilly has never let her disability determine what she can and cannot do. Born with Down syndrome, Reilly defies stereotypes every day through sport, leadership and employment, exemplifying the value people with intellectual disabilities bring to all facets of life.
Kevin Brown has overcome just about every obstacle put in front of him. He’s never let failure or people giving him a hard time stop him from doing what he loves. But most of all, he puts others first, leads by example and goes above and beyond, even in these uncertain times.
Special Olympics has come a long way since 1968 and now it goes beyond just sports. In the past two weeks, the Landscape Podcast, a series of episodes highlighting people, programs and businesses changing the landscape for individuals with any type of disability, has focused on Special Olympics and ESPN.
Loretta Claiborne has traveled the world with Special Olympics since starting to compete in 1970 with Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Over the past 50 years, she’s grown into one of Special Olympics’ most influential voices.