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Special Olympics: Uplifting and Powerlifting

Alanys Requena
A Special Olympics athlete lifts heavy during the ‘Powerlifting’ competition.

     When Theresa Ross’s son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, she decided to dedicate much of her life to coaching at the Special Olympics. For Ross, it’s a passion. “To some of [the athletes]; I’m a coach, to some I’m a mom, to some I’m a friend. Most of the athletes that I have, I’ve had in my programs for years. I’m friends with many of them.”

     Ross was one of the coaches for the Special Olympics powerlifting event held on Shorecrest’s campus on September 23, 2023. The event held activities from pickleball to softball to powerlifting and received lots of support from parents, coaches, and volunteers. A big part of the event included student volunteers from Shorecrest who ran booths, rallied the participants, and showed their enthusiasm and support for the Olympics itself.

     Sophomore Charlie Cowan was one of many student volunteers for the Special Olympics and decided to help out with powerlifting this year. After participating in the event the year prior, he reached out to the Special Olympics. Cowan said, “I had a lot of fun helping the athletes with their events. I decided to search for more opportunities and continued to volunteer for them.” 

     This year, he assisted once again as a way of giving back to his community. After being asked about what he enjoyed most, Cowan said, “The other events have always been fun, but the powerlifting is what I enjoy the most. There’s always a lot of energy in the room and it’s great that everyone is able to focus on one or two athletes that are lifting at a time.

     The ultimate goal of the Special Olympics event is to uplift the athletes. Ross emphasized, “It’s a good learning experience for everybody, so they can see that these athletes have feelings like everyone else. They may not understand everything, but they get enjoyment from doing normal things that everyone else would do. We’re all kind of alike in a way.”

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Alanys Requena, Staff Writer
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