The headline "If you can, I can" is the confident determined theme of Special Olympics, Canada. No group of people does this describe more accurately than the coaches, trainers, and athletes competing in the Special Olympics. Delores [Dee] Neukomm of Prince George, BC is one of their coaches.
Dee, as she is known by all of her friends, is an outstanding coach who has won many awards for her work with special needs athletes. In 1986 she was founding member of the Prince George local of Special Olympics. "Dick," she explained, "there was a need for intellectually challenged people to have the opportunity to participate in sports at their ability level. I became involved because our Down Syndrome daughter Lara wanted to be involved in sports that she could be successful at. Special Olympics gave her that opportunity. She excelled in swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastics but unfortunately in 1991 she lost her battle with leukemia when she was 17."
The death of her daughter spurred her on.In 1998 Dee was named BC Head Coach of the Year. She was also named Canada's National Female Coach of the Year. In 2003 she was head coach for the World games in Dublin, Ireland. This October she will be head coach for the Rhythmic Gymnastics team of TEAM CANADA at the World games in Shanghai, China. Her team will consist of athletes from Quebec, Ontario and BC.
TEAM CANADA will have 75 athletes, 20 coaches and 12 mission staff competing in seven sports. These world games will host 7,000 athletes from 150 countries in 150 sports.
Dee is very passionate about her athletes. "I believe people with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics achieve self confidence, good sportsmanship and personal success through sport."
My wife Aline and I have known Dee and her husband Ron, a past Rotary District Governor, for several years. We have often marvelled at their combined commitment to making the world a better place for everyone to live.
Delores [ Dee ] Neukomm is another Canadian Achiever. Read about the Special Olympics at www.canadianachievers.com