Special Olympics Wanganui’s Sam Donaldson is no stranger to the limelight. In 2011 he made world news for winning the first gold medal of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. His moment of glory lives on through YouTube and will provide him with a great opener for public presentations about Special Olympics.
Sam joined Special Olympics New Zealand 20 years ago on the recommendation of his CCS caseworker who was eager for him to start swim training. From the age of 13 Sam began competing at regional events throughout the Lower North Island. He went on to compete at every National Summer Games, the Australian Games and, of course, the World Summer Games in Athens. He is also a member of the Masters Swimming Club in Wanganui. Outside of the pool Sam has extended his training with Special Olympics Wanganui’s bocce and indoor bowls, and also plays mainstream outdoor bowls with the Gonville Bowling Club.
“I am very excited to be selected for the Athlete Leadership Programme. Taking part in Special Olympics has increased my confidence, made me more independent, I have more drive, am more focused, and more determined to succeed and do the best I can in all areas of my life,” he says.
“I would like to be able to be able to tell others what Special Olympics has done for me and encourage others to join up. I am keen to become more confident about speaking at committee meetings and fundraising events, and help build support for Special Olympics by visiting schools and Clubs and talk about what [people with intellectual disabilities] can do rather than what we can’t.”
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