Crystal M Williams

Disability Advocate, Writer, Blogger, Kabuki Syndrome

Feature Story: Special Olympics Athlete.

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Hello everyone happy Friday!

I hope that everyone had a good week and a good day. Normally I write my blog posts earlier in the day, but I got a little bit side tracked today. So I’m writing my post right now. Today on my blog I’m doing an other featured story/ interview with Hanna Atkinson. She is a Special Olympics Athlete from Colorado. I met Hanna last year when my husband and I went to Abu Dhabi to attend the Special Olympics World Summer Games. Thank you Hanna for letting me interview you. I hope you enjoy reading my interview with Hanna below.

How did you get involved with the Special Olympics?

My parents found Special Olympics for me because it is the place where I can be myself. I started immediately with the Special Olympics Colorado Ski racing team. After Skiing as one of the sports that I do for Special Olympic Colorado is bike racing.  

How long have you been a part of the Special Olympics?

 I Started with the Special Olympics at the age of 13 and it is now 12 years that I am involved with Special Olympics. It is my forever home in the Special Olympics. I appreciate the leadership and the community that Special Olympics expanded on and I really want to credit the founder of Special Olympics Eunice Kenndy Shriver.  

What sports do you do?

Now the sports that I do now are Ski Racing and Biking Racing for Special Olympics. In the past I used to compete in Special Olympics Swimming and in the past I also did Unified Basketball in my high School which the basketball ended in 2014. I will forever be a swimmer because my siblings were swimmers too. 

Favourite place or places you have got to travel for the Special Olympics?

My favourite place was going to Washington DC to be trained as a Health Messenger and trained as a Sargent Shriver international Global Messenger, and I went to Capitol hill day in Washington DC. I testified in front of the congress here in Colorado. I did go to Minnesota for the Special Olympic North America conference, I did already go to Paris France to speak as an panellist on the discussion on Inclusion, I did go to Atlanta Georgia to see the headquarters of the sponsor of Coke Cola for Special Olympics, I also went to Tulsa Oklahoma to do a commercial for Special Olympics. Overall the best ever place is Abu Dhabi because they called us Meet the Determined people and it was the place that I got the chance to cheer on so many Special Olympics athletes in Abu Dhabi. I even cheered for Mathew Williams at the tennis venue and he is amazing tennis player   

What is your favorite experience and or proudest moment as an IGM? 

My favourite experience as an IGM is to spread the inclusion  Revolution message and make friends for life with Apolo Ohno, Hannah Teter, and Daina Shilts. Hannah Teter and I are still friends before I became an IGM because I interviewed Hannah Teter here at Aspen Colorado at the X Games where Hannah Teter competed before Hannah Teter took me by surprise when I saw her in Abu Dhabi.  That was an amazing experience in Abu Dhabi and that I was interviewed in the Abu Dhabi Daily show and my interviewer was Daniel Smrokowski. It was a dream come true when I met Maria Shriver. One of my proudest moments was to be selected as an IGM and meet other IGMS. 

For people who don’t know a lot about the Special Olympics and want to know more about it?

What would you like them to know?  The Special Olympics is a place of acceptance, friendship, inclusion and joy. You can be a coach, you can donate, you can join the Inclusion Revolution , you can be a sponsor, you can be volunteer and you get the chance to talk with athletes from all over the world. The Special Olympics welcomes all of you and in the wise words of Eunice Kenndy Shriver, “Let me win,If i cannot win, Let me be brave in the attempt.” It is more than a sports organization. It is a movement.   

Why do you think it’s important for Special Olympics athletes leaders to be involved and have a voice in the movement?

It is important to hear from athlete leaders because every voice counts in the Special Olympics. The more leadership opportunities the more impactful the message will be. This world will be  a better place when all people can be heard and valued. Special Olympics transforms athletes all across the world with its platform of positivity and empowerment. All of this being said is also part of being accepted in the world. I am an athlete leader, I am honored that I can represent my fellow athlete leaders. 

Well that’s all for today. I hope that you enjoyed reading today’s blog post about Hanna interview that I did with her. Big shout out again to Hanna thank you for doing this interview with me. I hope that we can do more together in the future to make a difference for Special Olympics and for other people in our communities with disabilities.


Hanna Atkinson

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