How Special Olympics Changed One Athlete’s Life


Timothy Hart with Coach Elaine Ramoz

By: Elaine Ramoz, SOLA Coach

Special Olympics athlete, Timothy Hart, who participates in aquatics, athletics, bowling and power lifting, is a 17 year old with Autism.  He started participating in aquatics for Special Olympics when he was eight years old.  He participated in track and field in elementary school, but after being bullied for being “different” his parents chose to place him in home school with one other special needs student.  Here he spends his time with his best friend, Griffin.

Timothy has shown that he has true potential to be an all around athlete, with the drive and determination of an Olympian, he crushes every goal that he sets.

Competing in Special Olympics Louisiana, Timothy has opened up in so many ways.  As his coach for all of these sports, I have seen him grow as an individual.  His “disability” hasn’t slowed him down at all.  He now starts conversations, calls, texts and face times his teammates and coaches.  He is now making friends with people his own age.  The smile on his face is one that will melt anyone’s heart and seeing him being accepted for who he truly is, is a great sight to see.  At competitions, he sits with other athletes, laughs, makes jokes and always has a smile on his face.  Timothy has never been one to be super social, but because of Special Olympics Louisiana, he has transitioned into a new person.  Someone who wants to talk to others.  Someone who is making friends, sets goals and achieves them.  With the love and support of his family, fan club, coaches and teammates, he cannot fail.

For the second year, he has participated in the Northwest Louisiana Summer Swim League with The Swim School.  Being one of the two swimmers in the entire league with special needs, he continues to keep up with the “big boys.”  He has placed in all five meets this season, an accomplishment no one saw coming.  Not only does he keep up with the competition, he has made new friends and has truly come out of his shell.  He has made lifelong friends through the sport of swimming and has influenced his teammates to become Special Olympics volunteers, coaches and even unified partners.  His best friends plan to join him at State Fall Classic in the Unified Relay for Aquatics.  His peers have taken it upon themselves to include him in everything that they do.  A moment that really warms my heart, his parents and the hearts of the entire team.  They have truly accepted the concept of inclusion.


This Fall, The Swim School, in partnership with the YMCA of Northwest La, plan on bringing up to 30 aquatics athletes to the 2017 State Fall Classic.  These swimmers will all be school aged.  There will be at least eight coaches, if not more, plus more volunteers and about eight unified partners.  The Northwest Louisiana delegation will grow by at least 50! Keep an eye out for Timothy as he goes for the gold at SFC!

Did you know that Special Olympics Louisiana offers 19 different sports?

img_0081Special Olympics Louisiana offers our athletes a variety of Olympic-type individual and team sports to choose to participate in. From Swimming to Rhythmic gymnastics we have it all. Special Olympics Louisiana focuses on our athletes and we try to accommodate them by providing hands on training and competition opportunities for persons with or without intellectual disabilities.

Any of our sports can be Unified. Our Unified Sports bring people together. Unified Sports combines athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Athletes that participate in Unified Sports improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills, challenge and have fun, too!

Here is a list of the sports we offer:

Swimming                                Horseshoes
Artistic Gymnastics               Motor Activity Training
Athletics (Track & Field)      Powerlifting
Badminton                               Rhythmic Gymnastics
Basketball                                 Softball
Bocce                                          Table Tennis
Bowling                                      Tennis
Cycling                                       Unified Sports
Flag Football                             Volleyball

Click here to find out more information about our Sports offered.

Click here for more information about our Unified Sports.


Are You Ready for State Fall Classic?!

State Fall Classic will take place in Carencro, LA on October 16-18th and will feature 400 Special Olympics Louisiana athletes competing in aquatics, horseshoes, and softball!  We will start the weekend with Opening Ceremonies on Friday, October 16th for 6:00pm at  Pelican Park.  All are invited to witness the Parade of Athletes and Flame of Hope!SFC

Competitions will kick off Saturday, October 17th and run through Sunday, October 18th. You can view the schedule here.

Want to volunteer?  Click here!

2015 State Fall Classic

State Fall Classic is right around the corner!  Hundreds of Special Olympics Louisiana athletes will converge on Carencro, LA this October to compete in aquatics, horseshoes, and softball.Aquatics

The event will take place October 16-18 and events will be held at Pelican Park, Robicheaux Center.

Interested in volunteering?  Click here to register!

Fall Classic was a HIT

2013 Fall Classic Lori Burr

Lori Burr (on the right) lit the “Flame of Hope” at this weekends Fall Classic. Here she poses with her unified partner after winning gold this weekend!

This past weekend in Carencro, LA we had close to 400 athletes participate in aquatics, horseshoes and softball. It was a great weekend with lots of highlights! Friday night included: Chuck Childress from 106.7FM served as Master of Ceremonies, Maria Placer, Executive Director 232-HELP/ LA211 was Honorary Chair, Honorary Coach was Tony Robichaux, ULL Head Baseball Coach and the Grand Marshal was John Boudreaux, State Deputy-Knights of Columbus. Lighting the “Flame of Hope” was Special Olympics Louisiana Southwest athlete Lori Burr (pictured on the right alongside her unified partner). On Saturday, the athletes enjoyed participating in Olympic Town and Healthy Athletes. Several of our young athletes (ages 2 – 7) enjoyed the Healthy Athletes venues as well. To top it all off they enjoyed a victory dance on Saturday night!


Athlete wins Dan Piper Award

One of our aquatics athletes, Sean Adams, was recently featured in an article by the Tri-Parish Times.  The article describes Sean’s aquatics routine, “The morning sun is just barely awake in south Louisiana’s summer skies when Larose native Sean Adams gets ready to start each day.  He gets out of bed, gets himself dressed and usually enjoys some breakfast.  “Sean swims from 7-8 a.m. each morning at the Cut Off Youth Center’s pool – a time he cherishes daily because of his love for water.”Sean Adams

The article also talks about Sean’s chance to earn a trip to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games next June in New Jersey, “He and three other males will compete in Pineville for a chance to make the team.  If he does, he will represent Louisiana at the National Special Olympics in New Jersey.”

Read the full article here.

2014 National Games

The 2014 USA National Games will take place June 14-21, 2014 in New Jersey!  Special Olympics Louisiana is pleased to be sending a delegation of 106 athletes, partners, coaches, and staff to New Jersey next summer!  Athletes will compete in athletics, aquatics, bocce, basketball, bowling, flag football, golf and tennis.

Our delegation will host a training camp this November in preparation for the Games.  During our camp, coaches will have the opportunity to assess the athletic ability levels of our athletes and partners.2014 SO National GAmes logo

But, before any of that takes place our Heads of Delegation will travel to New Jersey to see the venues and gain a better understanding of what will happen next June.  Stay tuned for more updates!

You can view the 2014 USA Games website here.

Register to volunteer for 2014 USA Games here.