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Lyn Ryan

Bocce Head Coach, Lyn Ryan, says Special Olympics New Zealand has taken her to places she would never have thought possible.

While looking for a sport for her daughter to compete in, Lyn was introduced to Special Olympics 30 years ago and got involved firstly in aquatics and then later on in the sport of bocce. It was a sport her husband was developing and, so, “it was a natural progression”.

Lyn is also the bocce Coach for Special Olympics Manawatu and her focus is to encourage people to simply have a go and to have fun while doing so.

“I think a lot of people see it as a ‘gentleman’s’ sport rather than what it is – a game of skill and tactics. I also like to encourage the perception of a sport where you need to keep fit and follow all the protocols for sport such as keeping hydrated, doing additional fitness activities such as walking and going to the gym.”

Lyn is looking forward to the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015, as she has had positive experiences at previous Games including going to Newcastle in 2013 with the New Zealand Team. She also often accompanies her husband on trips overseas and assists with training and running Games at various levels, and has also attended World Games (both summer and winter) as a parent.

“To see the athletes achieve and gain respect from their peers is the greatest reward, no matter how hard the journey may have been.”

The busy grandmother says her passion for Special Olympics is what keeps her going. And it runs in the family – her sons are also involved in different Special Olympics sports.

Lyn has also served on the board of Phoenix (an employment agency for people with disabilities), Options in Community Living, Parent to Parent and has been involved in speaking to Classes at UCOL and Massey University about people with disabilities and their families.

Her work with people with disabilities focuses on support and care to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives.

Lyn adds, “These events are very important as they have the potential to change individuals’ perceptions of what people with a disability can do. It removes the ‘dis’ and shows the ability.”
What I love about New Zealand Special Olympics:

The opportunity it gives for growth and celebration not only for the athletes, but also for their parents, families, volunteers and the community as a whole.


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