The best motivators of Special Olympics athletes are their fellow Special Olympics athletes. We are proud to follow the lead of athletes who are trailblazing in fitness and the community members, volunteers, fitness professionals and parents joining them.

Meet the Fitness Newsletter Editorial Team

Nick Zweerink

Nick is from Richmond, Virginia and has been a part of Special Olympics for over 10 years. He is an athlete and Global Messenger. Nick enjoys playing soccer, basketball, softball, and swimming. One of Nick’s many accomplishments as an athlete was competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Due to an injury, Nick retired from competitive swimming. Since then he has found a new love for running and has been running everyday since December 2020. Nick has learned so much from Special Olympics, but his biggest takeaway is how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle.

Alex Burns

Alex is from Sterling, Virginia and has been a part of Special Olympics since 2011. He is an athlete and Global Messenger. Alex’s favorite aspect of being in Special Olympics is the sense of comradery he feels with other athletes. On top of that, he enjoys all the volunteer and advocacy work Special Olympics does for the community. Alex is a public speaker for Special Olympics and for the entire disability community as a whole. For entertainment, Alex is a big fan of movies, television shows, games, books, and music. Special Olympics has given Alex a family and platform to advocate for the disability community.

Richard Wolf

Rich is from White Plains, New York. He originally joined the Special Olympics team 30 years ago when his son, Jonathan, became an athlete. Since joining, Rich has worked as an assistant coach for swimming and golf, he has volunteered at events, and was honored to be a Unified Partner at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando. Beforehand Rich had been a journalist for over 45 years. As a retired journalist, Rich is more than happy to help with writing articles for SOVA’s various publications, and working with the fitness reporters and writers on the team.

Emily Bower

Emily is from Richmond, Virginia and has been a part of Special Olympics since 2011. She is an Area 31 athlete, SOVA staff member, and Global Messenger. She enjoys participating in swimming, track and field, and basketball. While she enjoys all the sports she participates in, her favorite is swimming. Emily is an extremely driven and hard working individual. She does not like when people put limitations on her because she knows she is capable of doing anything she sets her mind to. Emily wants everyone to know that she has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, nonverbal learning disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. Despite these labels, she is just like everyone else.

Kyler Reese

Kyler is from Oakton, Virginia and has been a part of Special Olympics for over 20 years. He is an athlete and Global and Health Messenger. He enjoys playing basketball, football, swimming, and volleyball. Kyler enjoys meeting new athletes, competing with his friends, and helping others improve their game. He wants to spread the word on how, just like the name, Special Olympics is truly special. Kyler explains that the athletes, coaches, and volunteers are the ones who help make it possible for members of his community to connect while also gaining a sense of accomplishment.

Success Stories

Beyond the Field: What it Takes to Be Fit and Win Article

Athlete Editorial Team Visits the Washington Commanders
5 Min Read

More Than Just Football Players Article

Athlete Editorial Team Visits the Washington Commanders
4 Min Read

I Haven't Stopped Running

For the past two years, I've been running everyday.
2 Min Read

Inclusion through Fitness

In the world we are surrounded by people. And people can choose to include. Inclusion means giving people the opportunity to take their time and giving them space. An inclusive world is what I want.
1 Min Read

Fitness Spotlight: Coach Marcus Leggett

Marcus has a son who is a Special Olympics Virginia athlete and that is how we first got involved in the organization. He has been with area 2 for 15 years as the local coordinator in Virginia Beach and been a coach for multiple sports year-round.
2 Min Read

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