Special Olympics Florida

Tag Archives: Stand Up Paddle

Special Olympics Florida Leads the Way in SUP for People with Intellectual Disablities

Posted on August 24, 2015 | Posted in Intellectual DisabilitiesSports

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It’s still early at Higgs Beach in Key West, Florida as people begin to arrive. Volunteers are busy unloading boards and setting up tables and buoys for the stand-up paddle (SUP) board course. The sun is out and it’s perfect Florida Keys weather for a SUP race.

Last fall, that bright sunrise had given way to balmy weather with enough wind to create a light chop. But those few waves didn’t deter the nearly 100 Special Olympics athletes who were eager and laughing on the beach – their enthusiasm bubbling over, they’re prepped by their certified coaches who help them read the water.

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Meet our Coaches! (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on August 1, 2014 | Posted in Athlete ProfilesSports

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While athletes are at the heart of our organization, our volunteers are its backbone. That’s why each year at State Summer and State Fall Games, Special Olympics Florida honors the coaches who have inspired others to reveal their inner champions. Called the Inspirational Athlete & Coach award, it is a chance to celebrate the dedication and passion that our volunteer coaches bring to Special Olympics Florida.

Coach Lois Simpson-Leino from Manatee County

Lois Simpson-Leino began participating in Special Olympics Florida in February 2013 after researching online and deciding that it was a great way to share her love of sports, especially volleyball, swimming and basketball, with others. The people she has met along the way have been Lois’ favorite part of coaching with Special Olympics Florida. As she puts it, “Every moment with Special Olympics has been full of laughter and excitement. Win or lose, every athlete and coach knows that as long as we tried our best and had fun, that is all that matters.” Lois even recently started learning sign language in order to communicate with one of her hearing-impaired athletes. Read More »


Meet our Coaches! (Part 1 of 2)

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Posted in Athlete ProfilesSports

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While athletes are at the heart of our organization, our volunteers are its backbone. That’s why each year at State Summer and State Fall Games, Special Olympics Florida honors the coaches who have inspired others to reveal their inner champions. Called the Inspirational Athlete & Coach award, it is a chance to celebrate the dedication and passion that our volunteer coaches bring to Special Olympics Florida.

Coach Lenora Deonath from Marion County

In the ten years since her son began competing, Lenora Deonath has dedicated her time to improving the lives of Special Olympics athletes. Lenora has numerous sports under her belt, including Bowling, Aquatics, Basketball, Golf, Softball, Volleyball, Cycling, Athletics, and the newest – Stand-Up Paddle. Lenora says her favorite part of Special Olympics is working with athletes, teaching them new skills, and practicing with them throughout each season. She’s considered a competition veteran, having been to the State Summer Games four times. However, this year was her first time as head coach of the Volleyball team and as Lenora explains, “each time at State Summer Games has been a unique experience”. Special Olympics has drawn Lenora’s family together, allowing each member to support one another whenever someone needs it. As Lenora mentions, “Special Olympics has been the best thing to happen in my life, not just because of my son but because all the athletes that I get to work with.” Read More »