Before the 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, swimmer Taylor Mackenzie believed that sports is a great equalizer: in the pool, she says, "Nobody judges me or my disability. It's where I feel happy and can be myself."
"Nobody judges me or my disability. It's where I feel happy and can be myself."
Now, after competing at the World Games, she KNOWS that it’s true: “I am so pumped, I am so happy [and] proud.”
Taylor certainly can be proud of setting a great example of determination in sports: She came in first, twice: in the 200m freestyle and the 400m freestyle. She said being in the World Games “is an opportunity of a lifetime. I never thought I'd be in this, and even win a gold medal.”
Still, she gives all the credit to her coaches & teammates—and LOTS of practice through the years: “Growing up and constantly training on and off, there is a love for the sport and getting accepted into this amazing competition. That really spurred me on and want to do my best and represent the nation," says Taylor, a member of Team Great Britain.
During the training for World Games—and during the Games themselves—she especially loved being part of a team.
"It's an amazing feeling to have the support and love from my teammates and coaches, all the cheering that I've heard in the water, the 'Go Taylor'...I could not have done it without them.”
Taylor and the rest of the team will return home after successfully competing—and soon get back to training. There’s always another Special Olympics competition coming up!