Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Paul Bettendorf

#50for50: Volume 2
▪️ Paul Bettendorf
▪️ 53 years old
▪️ Northumberland-Snyder

“My mom saw an ad in the paper and that’s how I got started with Special Olympics. It was good to meet new friends and everybody was real nice when I started. My first sport was powerlifting and I do the bench and I deadlift. I’m proud when I do my lift good and I’m just proud to win medals and ribbons. … Right now I do bowling, I do bocce, I swim and I do horseback riding. When I talk to people, they say, ‘good job, keep doing it.’ My doctor, he told me to keep doing it. If I quit, my legs are going to get a lot worse. He just said, ‘keep doing it.’ I have CP [cerebral palsy] and he just don’t want my legs to get worse. Usually horseback riding helps. They said it’s like therapy on the horses. The first time I got on a horse I was a little nervous, but this horse is real good with me. … My mom [Martha] is my Unified Partner in bocce. They started that a couple years ago. At the beginning, they didn’t do Unified, but now they have it. I just like to go and do competitions and state games, stuff like that. I started swimming a couple years ago. Swimming is hard because there’s a lot of different strokes you have to learn, but I like the backstroke. … I’m a Global Messenger and I’m an Athlete Representative. I had to go through training and it was not easy to get through that. But now I have to go out and get more volunteers to come and help Special Olympics.”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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