By McKenna Robbins
Brett Laza is a devoted Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) athlete and an avid supporter of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (LETR). He lives in Southern California and has been a SOSC athlete for 19 years, participating in Athletics, Tennis, Floor Hockey, Floorball, Swimming, Volleyball and Bowling. Not only does he love playing sports, but he also likes to gain new skills that will set him up for success as an athlete and leader.
When asked what he is most excited about for the World Games, Laza talked about the huge honor he feels getting to travel to Berlin, Germany and carry the ‘Flame of Hope’, representing SOSC, LETR, and Southern California. When finding out on a Zoom call that he would be the first Special Olympics athlete to be on the International Planning Committee for the World Games, he was shocked in addition to being happy and excited for what would come.
For about 12 years, Laza has been involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run. LETR allows him to build relationships with other athletes and law enforcement officers. He participates in countless events such as local Torch Runs, Tip-A-Cops, Polar Plunges, Plane Pulls and various fundraisers. Due to his connection and hard work, he got the opportunity to travel to Athens, Germany for the Torch Lighting Ceremony and participated in the 2015 Final Leg in Los Angeles.
Laza loves playing against other athletes and making friends on and off the field. When talking about how Special Olympics has changed his life, he says SOSC gives him “many amazing experiences where I can show my abilities rather than my disabilities.”
Since being involved with SOSC, he has gained self-confidence, courage, independence, and the ability to be a great leader. In preparation for the World Games, he is constantly training in track and field, usually running 3-5 miles multiple days of the week. In addition to his training, much of his attention goes to preparing and practicing speeches.
Learn more about the 2023 World Games in Berlin at specialolympicsusa.org.