Ekaterina Sazonova, or Katya, as her friends call her is from Russia, where she lives in a flat in Moscow, together with her friend. Katya works as a Fitness Instructor in a Gym and is very passionate about helping people stay fit and healthy. Katya is a powerful role model on how to have a positive and open approach to life. Katya is a very active person. She loves cycling, swimming, meeting friends, cooking healthy food, skating and volleyball. She volunteers in the community for charity foundations and helps during festivals or events for people with disabilities.
Katya had problems when she was young. She grew up in an orphanage and the other children laughed at her because she didn’t always understand the same things as them. When she moved to a new orphanage, she met her future coach and foster mother. They noticed that Katya was very active and suggested that she should try sport. She tried and succeeded. This was how Katya got involved with Special Olympics. Katya’s competitive sports are Judo, Alpine Skiing and Bowling. She also practices these sports outside of Special Olympics.
The most beautiful and inspiring memories and high points in her career with Special Olympics were the World Winter Games in 1993 in Austria. It was her first international competition, where she won 2 gold medals and met Eunice Kennedy Shriver! Mrs. Shriver awarded Katya with the medals and gave her big hugs. Katya could feel that she gave her all her warmth, love and support. She felt like Mrs. Shriver opened her heart and gave her love to Katya. It's one of the most important and happiest moment for her. After that Katya decided that nothing is impossible and she'll survive all difficult things in life.
Katya loves being a Health Messenger for Special Olympics. Sport and Fitness gave her the desire to live and to not pay attention to people who have laughed at her. Katya is a champion, she loves herself and is a great role model to her family, friends and community. Sport and living a healthy life make her feel positive, strong and brave. Katya’s health advice to everyone is to keep active every day and fuel your bodies with healthy food. She also says to enjoy your sports, today you may win, tomorrow you may lose, but always try your best.
Katya shares her experiences and knowledge about health and fitness with children and people who have problems with health. She regularly visits orphanages and speaks to children, to try to inspire them and to tell them how Special Olympics gave her the opportunity to live a better healthy and happy life. She also mentors other athletes and helps them improve their own health and fitness. Katya is very active on social media regularly posting the latest workout and examples of healthy nutritious foods. She wants to help more Special Olympics athletes who are our future leaders, to inspire them to be role models as well.
Raluca Ioana Avram
To Stephanie, the athlete oath isn't just a saying. It's a valuable tool for overcoming her greatest fears. Being involved in Special Olympics has given Stephanie the confidence she needs to celebrate her abilities and pursue her dreams. As a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and a Health Messenger, she wants to promote health and educate young athletes.
Lynna Marie Hodgson
Su Xing “Jack” Zheng