14 year old Keegan Waite has been with Special Olympics PEI for 2 years, where he plays goalie with the local program in Summerside called Summerside Mustangs. Keegan is the youngest member to ever be on Team PEI, having participated at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, NF,
“My experience with Special Olympics has been really cool. Being able to play against friendly competition, even at a National level, has been amazing.” Keegan Waite
26 year old Emily Ross has been with Special Olympics Alberta since 2004. She participates in cross-country skiing and athletics.
“Special Olympics has changed my life by giving me new opportunities, making new friends and travelling. It has brought me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to do the best I can.” - Emily Ross
Tijana has been a Special Olympics athlete for over 10 years. She is one of the first graduates of the Special Olympics Yukon school based program. Currently, Tijana trains and competes in golf, figure skating and bocce. The highlight of her sport career was this past March while participating at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games where she won a Gold Medal in Figure Skating. Tijana is happiest when going to Special Olympics programs as she enjoys spending time with her teammates.
"Special Olympics brings tears of joy to my eyes on a regular basis when I see the hard-earned accomplishments of my daughter and her fellow athletes. I am proud beyond words." - Kathleen MacNearney
Longtime Prince George coach Dee Neukomm got involved with Special Olympics to give her daughter Lara an opportunity to participate in sports. At the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver in 1990, Neukomm watched Lara light the flame at the Opening Ceremony and compete in rhythmic gymnastics at a time when Lara was going through chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. Neukomm says it was an honour to be there as Lara’s mother and coach. While Lara passed away in 1991, Neukomm continues to coach with Special Olympics. She says working with Special Olympics is an exciting, heartwarming experience, and she encourages others to get involved.
For more than 20 years, Joanne has volunteered with Special Olympics Manitoba (SOM), coaching a variety of sports including basketball and snowshoeing. She currently sits on the SOM Board of Directors and coaches the Razorbacks basketball team. Most recently, she coached the snowshoe team for Team Manitoba at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Zahaiko said she continues to volunteer with Special Olympics after all these years because she gets as much out of the experience as she gives, if not more. “I’m getting friendships, I’m getting training, I’m getting pure enjoyment,” said Zahaiko, “The relationships I’ve made with the athletes and the people I’ve met are incredible. It’s become a social thing for me.”