Each year at the Opening Ceremonies of the State Summer Games, six Special Olympics athletes representing the six Special Olympics Areas of our state, are recognized as Area Athletes of the Year. They are nominated by coaches, Area Directors, or family members who believe they are worthy of the title. From the six Areas, one athlete is then chosen as The Special Olympics New Mexico Athlete of the Year. That athlete is given the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron to officially Open the Games.
The letters of recommendation for the athletes always include words and statements like “goes out of the way to help other teammates” – “always works hard” – “sets a good example” – “displays good sportsmanship”- “has a huge heart.”
Intellectual disability or not – these athletes are chosen because they serve others, lead by example, and work hard. Much to be learned about that – much to be said about that. Congratulations Michael Sillers, Shawn Williams, Keith Covarrubia, Eric Jacquez, Alton Yazzie, and Scott Yeager. Hold those trophies high – you deserve them!!