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by Trent Weir 
Algonquin College Sport Business Management Intern

The community that Special Olympics fosters is full of inspirational people. One such example is Susie Doyens, a woman with Down syndrome who was non-verbal for most of her life. She would only speak to her mother and even then, just a few words. However once she started playing golf with Special Olympics, her confidence began to grow. Eventually, she was asked to become a spokesperson for Special Olympics and has done many public speeches to different audiences regarding her experience.

These stories are not uncommon and if you ask almost any parent, sibling or friend of a participant of Special Olympics, you will hear a similar story about how valuable the experience has been for the athlete. Other sport organizations could learn a lot from the Special Olympics on how to encourage community and personal growth, while still providing the opportunity for elite competition. The Special Olympics’ motto is something every athlete should follow: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Chenevert M, Pierce T, Block M, One Shining Moment for One Special Class: Special Olympics Challenge Day in Casper. WY. Palaestra. March 2012;26(2):19-22. 
2. Conatser P, Naugle K, Tillman M, Stopka C. Athletic Trainers’ Beliefs Toward Working With Special Olympics Athletes. Journal Of Athletic Training. May 2009;44(3):279-285. 
3. Doyens S, Adler M, Croslin B. Competing Is The Most Fun Thing I Do. Golf Digest. January 2013;64(1):50. 
4. Harada C, Siperstein G. The Sport Experience of Athletes With Intellectual Disabilities: A National Survey of Special Olympic Athletes and Their Families. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly.January 2009;26(1):68-85. 
5. Krtnick K. The Road less traveled: Division III and Special Olympics partnership paves way to Final Four. NCAA NEWS. April 3, 2013;:2. 
6. Petti S. Special Olympics Canada: enriching lives through sport. Coaches Plan/Plan Du Coach. Summer2009 2009;16(2):85-87. 
7. Wilski M, Nadolska A, Dowling S, Mcconkey R, Hassan D. Personal development of participants in special Olympics unified sports teams. Human Movement. October 2012;13(3):271-279.

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.