An Opportunity to Shine

Think of any sporting event, at any level, and the athletes involved share common goals. The teams and individuals want to test themselves, striving to rise to the occasion and perform their very best when the stakes are the highest.

Special Olympics Southern California athletes are no different, and they continue to prove that year-round at local and championship competitions.

For many, SOSC provides the platform to compete that wasn’t always available to them at their local schools or park leagues. Currently, SOSC serves more than 37,100 athletes with intellectual disabilities, with 12 sports offered.

That allows athletes like Santa Clarita Valley’s Timothy Delifus to play basketball in the spring and volleyball in the fall.

“I like to stay active,” he said. “It’s changed my life so much. … I’m so happy [my mom] put me into sports.”

Perhaps better than anyone, the athletes’ coaches know just how dedicated they are to improve and how appreciative they are by the end of the season. Nancy Swanson has a pair of perspectives.

She first got introduced to SOSC about 30 years ago as a volunteer who handed out medals at a swim meet.

“I got medals and hugs. It was perfect. I was sold from then,” Swanson said.

Since then, Swanson has coached bocce, bowling, golf and volleyball in Orange County. She said the athletes have more to offer than what you see on the surface if you “just give them a chance.”

“They have many more capabilities than you would realize,” she said.

For more information on the sports offered, how to become an athlete, and more, please visit

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