Even though we are both from New York, are involved with Special Olympics New York, and actually live a little more than an hour away from each other, I didn’t meet Katy Sanchez until I went to Los Angeles. We were both at the Just-in-Time Training for volunteers at the World Games. I thought I had seen her before (and I had), so I introduced myself to her and her mom, Susan. It was great to find fellow New Yorkers in LA! We met up a few more times in LA, helped each other to get around on the metro, and then I saw her and her mom at the most recent State Games in October where she competed in golf.
Katy’s passion about Special Olympics is really inspiring and powerful. She is a speaker, a Global Messenger for Special Olympics New York, and a very good, competitive, and committed Special Olympics athlete in the Hudson Valley Region. Even though she didn’t qualify for the World Games this summer, she still came to volunteer and support the athletes. She was also kind enough to grant the Olympics of Blogs an interview. 🙂
The Olympics of Blogs: How long have you been participating in Special Olympics?
Katy: I started Special Olympics in 2007. I started with Basketball. Special Olympics has changed my life
The Olympics of Blogs: What sports do you compete in?
Katy: The sports I compete in are golf, soccer, floor hockey, basketball, track and field, cycling, and I even do triathlons.
The Olympics of Blogs: What is your favorite sport?
Katy: My favorite sport is basketball because my brother taught me how to play the game.
The Olympics of Blogs: What is your favorite thing about Special Olympics?
Katy: My favorite thing about Special Olympics is that we have mutual respect for each other.
The Olympics of Blogs: How many medals have you won?
Katy: I’ve won 99 medals so far; more are coming this year!
The Olympics of Blogs: What was your favorite experience at Special Olympics?
Katy: My favorite experience is becoming a Global Messenger for Special Olympics New York. I enjoy speaking about Special Olympics to the community!
Katy: I was an athlete volunteer at the World Games in LA in July of 2015. I volunteered at soccer and received soccer balls, and one day at Tennis, I helped out the fans!
The Olympics of Blogs: Based on your experience at the World Games, how is volunteering as a Special Olympics athlete different from competing?
Katy: My experience as volunteering at World Games in LA in July of 2015 was that I got to support other athletes that were competing!
The Olympics of Blogs: What other Games have you been to, either as a competitor or a volunteer?
Katy: I’ve been to National Games in 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska, for track and field with Team Virginia. Also in 2010, I got to go to Latin America with my Team Virginia Area 26 teammates [for the Latin American Games]. Also I went to the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey for triathlon with Team New York.
The Olympics of Blogs: Have you ever done any speaking activities for Special Olympics? What were those?
Katy: I have done a lot speaking opportunities, but my favorite one was New York City Gala, where my speech was a moving one!! I spoke in front of 700 people.
The Olympics of Blogs: What does Special Olympics mean to you?
Katy: Special Olympics means family. I have always said it’s my second family because we protect each other. It also means accepting who we are. Also, we are inspiration to others.
The Olympics of Blogs: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Katy: BE A FAN OF Special Olympics! I would love to see more Unified teams in high schools and colleges!!
Katy’s goal is to be an International Global Messenger for Special Olympics International and/or to compete in the World Games. Good luck, Katy!