In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Summer Games at UW-Stevens Point, we asked athletes and fans from the Stevens Point Area YMCA agency about what Special Olympics and the Summer Games mean to them. Here are some of their responses.
“Special Olympics has impacted my life by letting me participate in all the events. Special Olympics is great for all people with disabilities to compete in.” – Ben Burow
“I got to make a lot of friends in Special Olympics. I love all the social opportunities. I feel proud of myself.” – Annie Barnes
“Special Olympics has given my daughter opportunities to participate in sports she may not otherwise been able to. She gets in her exercise while still having fun! Creating friendships that will last her a lifetime. Her smile says it all.” – Karen Sopa
“Seeing the enthusiasm, hard work and the love of other athletes has inspired me to become more involved in and with Special Olympics. Also by trusting the many friends and coaches who help me understand things easily. My heart belongs with Special Olympics.” – Nicole Pliska
“I get to spend time with my friends & make new ones.” – Nate Hansen
“Special Olympics athletic programs have given Will opportunities to enhance his self-esteem through participation and to develop friendships with other athletes that he otherwise would not have met.” – Kent Meyer
“Special Olympics helps keep me involved in sport activities which I could not have done otherwise. It gets me excited about competing. It has built friendships with a group of friends, keeps me active, is important to me and gives me pride.” – Katie Maes
“All the athletes who have been and are in our Agency, 2-25 Stevens Point Area YMCA Adapted Recreation, are truly amazing people and athletes. They all have found strength, courage, joy, enthusiasm and most of all inclusion! I have learned many life lessons from these athletes, who are all my friends, most importantly, no matter who you are, we are all people first.” – Kristy Bridenhagen
“Special Olympics helps me feel good and helps me do better.” – Juliann Przychocki
“I meet new friends.” – Janet Jakusz
“It has made me a more disciplined person. It also has taught me that being part of a team is better than trying to do it on my own. I have made new friends and learned that winning isn’t everything, team work is more important. Doing your best is what matters.” – Brett Peterson
“Special Olympics has been a wonderful, humbling, learning experience for me. It has taught me what true competition is, and the joy it brings to so many people. I have had the pleasure of watching my son grow, through his involvement with Special Olympics, from a depressed young man with hard-to-control epilepsy, into a more confident, mature athlete, with a much more positive outlook on his life. Yes, there have been improvements in his treatments. But, one of the biggest factors in his growth, is without question, his Special Olympics experiences.” – Larry Iverson
“I have met so many new friends at Special Olympics.” – Janessa Cisewski
“Special Olympics has impacted my life by showing me good sportsmanship… that it isn’t if you win or lose, it’s about trying your hardest and having fun.” – Coach Rick
“What Special Olympics means to me is it’s OK to be different and succeed.” – Sean Mudgett
“[Special Olympics is] a time for our son to be proud of himself while showing his accomplishments and his abilities which then carries over into his other life experiences.” – Jon Sosnowski
“Special Olympics keeps my son active, making new friends, learning new ways to make sports fun. He looks forward to going to the tournaments every year. Thank you for providing him the opportunity to make new friends and keep active.” – Tyler Glodowski
“Special Olympics gives Val something to look forward to, the practices, the competitions, the friendships and accomplishments.” – Sandy Van Asten
To all of the Special Olympics family in Stevens Point, thank you for welcoming us to your community for the past 40 years of the Summer Games with such warmth and hospitality!
The 2019 Summer Games will take place on June 6-8 with athletes participating in Athletics (Track & Field), Soccer and Swimming. If you can’t make it to the games, follow along on social media for live tournament announcements as well as a live Facebook feed of the Opening Ceremony at 7:00 p.m. on June 6th!