12 Days of Athletes in 2019

December 12, 2019 Blog, Featured

This holiday season, we’re taking “12 Days of Athletes” to look back on some of the most inspiring athlete stories we covered in 2019.



On the first Day of Athletes…

We will kick off these 12 days with Christine Cherne from the Milwaukee Suburb of Brown Deer, who has been a Special Olympics Athlete since 1990! As an accomplished athlete, leader and advocate, Christine has had the happiest and greatest years of her life because of Special Olympics Wisconsin. Her and her family are so grateful for all of the help and support in helping her to become the special young woman she is today.

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On the second Day of Athletes…

On the second Day of Athletes, we’re revisiting when Young Athlete Bennett Chart and his family from New Berlin had a chance of a lifetime thanks to the Badgers Give Back program and their Wisconsin Shoe Project. Bennett and his family were able to spend time on the field where they were able to meet some of the players like star defensive back Madison Cone. As part of the #WisconsinShoeProject, Bennett received a pair of custom Under Armour shoes signed by Cone.

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On the third Day of Athletes…

On the third Day of Athletes, we’re highlighting Special Olympics Wisconsin Athlete Leader Cole Cleworth of Wisconsin Rapids. The 2019 Wisconsin Self-Determination Conference in Wisconsin Dells gave Cole a chance to do some things he loves: share about Special Olympics and meet new people.

In the words of Cole Cleworth, he was there to show the world “that anybody can do anything — we can do great things.”

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On the fourth Day of Athletes…

On the fourth Day of Athletes, athlete Isaiah Kasay of River Valley Special Olympics was selected this past year as one of SpartanNash’s Healthy Athletes of the Year who was featured on their water packaging over the summer. He wants to serve as an inspiration to others because leading a healthy lifestyle has been such an enriching part of his and his family’s lives. “We talk about nutrition in our family, but we also talk about being active,” said Isaiah’s mom, Amanda.

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On the fifth Day of Athletes…

On the fifth Day of Athletes, we are highlighting Team Milwaukee athlete PJ Lynch and his brother/Unified Partner, Andy. For years now, PJ has served as a trailblazing athlete leader who welcomes a challenge, no matter how far from home. The brothers teamed up earlier this month as the Double Dogs for a Unified Bowling Tournament in Madison, and competed in the doubles event. The tournament gave them an opportunity to play one of their favorite sports together.

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On the sixth Day of Athletes…

On the sixth Day of Athletes, we’re looking back to the spring when athlete Joanna Stein got to participate in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Joanna and her mom, Patricia Pipkorn, even brought home gold in Unified Bowling!
 
Joanna has been a Special Olympics athlete since 1996 but this was her first competition at the national or international level. While Joanna has a competitive spirit, she knows that Special Olympics is ultimately about so much more than where you stand on the podium.

“We all take love and pride in what we do,” Joanna said.

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On the seventh Day of Athletes…

On the seventh Day of Athletes, we are highlighting 2018 USA Games athlete Katie Muench from West Allis. Special Olympics has helped her meet new friends, play sports she loves, and keep in shape. Katie really likes being part of a team and she never knew what she was capable of in athletics until she joined Special Olympics.

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On the eighth Day of Athletes…

On the eighth Day of Athletes, we are highlighting athlete Matt Martino of the St. Coletta agency. Back in January, Special Olympic Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater teamed up for the inaugural Athlete Leadership Academy. Matt was one of the 25 athletes who attended, while 25 UW-Whitewater student athletes participated in this groundbreaking program.

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On the ninth Day of Athletes…

On the ninth Day of Athletes, we’re going back to February, when Micah Gumness of Pickett was one of just 12 Special Olympics athletes from around the world selected to compete in the Unified Basketball game during the NBA All Star Weekend!

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On the tenth Day of Athletes…

On the tenth Day of Athletes, we are highlighting athlete Ryon Knodl of West Allis. In March, he traveled to Abu Dhabi with his friend and Unified Partner Ken Kuemmerlein to compete in Unified Golf at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games. They ended up nabbing a bronze while also taking part in a once in a lifetime experience together!

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On the eleventh Day of Athletes…

On the eleventh Day of Athletes, let’s hear it for athlete Seth Rehrauer of Oregon. Back in 2018, Seth represented Team Wisconsin at the USA Games where he was able to bring home two golds, a silver and a bronze!

In 2019, he got to serve as a celebrity judge during the Madison Polar Plunge. Now he’s a Polar Plunge Ambassador who has been busy recruiting new participants for the 2020 Plunge!

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On the twelfth Day of Athletes…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Special Olympics Wisconsin! On the twelfth Day of Athletes, we are celebrating athlete Zechariah Tietz who is an Athlete Leader and a member of the Athlete Input Council for Team Milwaukee.

This past spring he represented Wisconsin as a Torch Runner in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for Special Olympics in the week prior to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, where he helped carry the Flame of Hope torch to every corner of the United Arab Emirates to raise awareness for the World Games and the mission of Special Olympics.

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