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Nicole Harris, Basketball Official, World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Nicole Harris

Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Special Olympics Australia athlete on 2025 & 2029 World Winter Games Bid Evaluation Team

During Women’s History Month, seven women, one from each Special Olympics Region, shared their unique stories of what it was like to participate in and plan a World Games.

What is your role for the 2025 and 2029 World Winter Games?

My role for the 2025 and 2029 World Winter Games is to evaluate the bids Special Olympics received from cities that want to host future World Winter Games.

Why is it important for a Special Olympics athlete to evaluate bids for future World Games?

It’s important because it allows the athlete to voice their opinions and ideas from previous attended Games of what makes a World Games experience great and what countries that host World Games could do differently to make it bigger and better from an athletes point of view. Also, to make it an experience that any athlete can look back on and have life-long memories from.

What are you most looking forward to in this role?

I’m most looking forward to finding out what countries are bidding for the 2025 and 2029 World Winter Games. Also, seeing how a World Winter Games is run from behind the scenes compared to being an athlete competing in it.

What World Games have you competed in and in what sports?

I have competed in three World games. In 2011 in Athens, Greece and in 2015, in Los Angeles, California, I competed in basketball. In 2013, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, I competed in alpine skiing.

What advice would you share with Special Olympics athletes who are training to compete at a World Games?

Make sure you have a passion for whatever sport you play because it makes training so much more enjoyable. Use every training and competition as a stepping stone to work on your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Always set long and short-terms goals as motivation. Always learn from and look back on previous sessions and competitions you have won or lost at and always take a positive thing out of it. The next four years may be a roller coaster of high, lows, lots of blood, sweat and tears, ice baths, early mornings and late nights, and injuries. Enduring these things will make you a better, smarter athlete at the end of the day.

Who is your female role model?

I have two female role models: Lindsay Vonn and Bethany Hamilton. Lindsay Vonn is an American Alpine Ski Racer who has won 82 World Cup ski races throughout her career. She has endured career-ending injuries multiple times and has come back stronger and better after each injury after completing countless hours of rehab for each injury.

Bethany Hamilton is a Hawaiian surfer who was surfing out on a reef when one of her arms was bitten off by a shark. She now surfs with one arm and has succeeded in the surfing world ever since, surfing the world’s most dangerous waves. After countless hours of rehab and training to keep her body strong, she is now making a positive impact out of a traumatizing incident.

Women of World Games

  • Dorothy Okatch Special Olympics Africa, Basketball Official, World Games Abu Dhabi 2019
  • Nicole Harris Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Special Olympics Australia athlete on 2025 & 2029 World Winter Games Bid Evaluation Team
  • Kyung-won Na Special Olympics East Asia, Chairwoman, World Winter Games Pyeongchang 2013
  • Róża Banasik-Zarańska Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, Kayaking Technical & Unified Sports Delegate
  • Teresa Leitão Special Olympics Latin America, Tennis Technical Delegate at the 2011, 2015, and 2019 World Games
  • Kristine Hughes Assistant Technical Delegate, Volleyball, World Games Berlin 2023
  • Layla Alhajjaj Special Olympics Middle East / North Africa, Manager of Transformation and Legacy for Special Olympics UAE, World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

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