As the youngest member of Little City’s Special Olympics team, Ryan has proven to be a champion athlete in record time. Having first started with the team in 2022 during the track season, Ryan proved to be a quick learner and ended up taking silver in the 100m dash and gold in the softball throw at the state championships.
Fresh off that experience, Ryan just recently helped lead the basketball team this past season as one of the leading scorers and is now taking his turn at Little City’s most decorated program – the powerlifting team.
“Ryan has been trying out all our sports and is able to hang with the adults and do really well. He’s the fastest runner we have,” said Elideth Vazquez Martinez, recreation therapist and Special Olympics coach. “He fits in really well with our adults and is very good at making friends and being supportive of everyone.”
The rare inclusion of an athlete from the children’s program making it to the Special Olympics team came after his recreation therapist noticed his natural athletic ability during the weekly basketball games the boys at Larry’s Home would have. After she recommended the Special Olympics and his family gave the OK, Ryan has been full speed ahead.
His maturity off the field has helped him integrate quickly as well, Elideth said. He will bring water bottles to practice for others, help teammates where he can and is always quick to help with more responsibilities.
“I would love for more of our children to be able to participate in the Special Olympics,” Ellie said. “We have developmental programs where they can get involved with the sport and not have to compete right away so I hope to see more of that in the future.”
Ryan and the rest of the team will have an April regional competition to see who qualifies for the state competition at the Summer Games on June 9 in Track and Field, Bocce and Powerlifting.
Interested in volunteering with our Special Olympics teams or know someone who is? Connect with Elideth to learn more about the program and how you can get involved at firstname.lastname@example.org