As the Official Sponsor of Special Olympics International Sport and Coach Programming, Gallagher. is committed to empowering athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to face their future with confidence through quality coaching and training experiences. The Gallagher-Special Olympics “Confidence” series shares the stories of Special Olympics coaches and athletes who are building confidence together through sport.
When I was eight, my dad was a part of the Long Island Railroad. They were a sponsor of Special Olympics, so I would go with him and volunteer as a kid and not even know it. I had no idea that this would eventually lead to a lifelong commitment to coaching with Special Olympics New York.
There's nothing more rewarding than being a Special Olympics coach. I want my athletes to walk out into the world and feel confident. I will never forget my first track meet and seeing how sports and athletic training can mold a person. Every day, I see teammates with and without intellectual disabilities forming real connections by training and competing together. That connection, and that confidence, transcends the playing field. By creating an inclusive atmosphere where people of all abilities train and compete together, you expand the athletes’ comfort zone, you build their confidence, and you expand their community. And they are no longer isolated.
Special Olympics’ approach to coaching is unlike anything in mainstream sports. We break it down by skills, competition levels, positions—all in different formats for athletes at every age and ability level. And if the traditional way isn’t working for an athlete, Special Olympics coaches find a way to match those skills and help our athletes develop by focusing on what they can do—not what they can’t do. We are always learning from our athletes and sharing new coaching techniques with one another.
I will help my athletes succeed no matter what. Special Olympics athletes are talented. They are independent. They are capable. I will not accept that somebody can't grow or that they can't compete.