Athlete Spotlight: Louis Fornataro

Hi my name is Louis Fornataro from Lawrence County I been in special Olympics for 12 years now. I compete bocce, volleyball, basketball and bowling. In the last 6 months I have been doing a lot of stuff with special Olympics. Earlier this year, I was asked to join Lawrence County’s Athlete Leadership Team.

Up until that point, I didn’t know that I had the opportunity to represent my fellow athletes and help make the program better for everyone involved. Shortly after I joined the Athlete Leadership Team, I felt I had the opportunity to make an even bigger impact.

There were two things I really wanted to accomplish. First, I wanted to eventually become Chair of Lawrence’s Athlete Leadership Team. Second, I wanted to become a coach so I could still be active in the sports I love, even if I eventually become physically unable to compete in them. I got to go to Sheetz’s Operations Center, just outside of Altoona a couple times this year to attend two different Athlete Leadership University sessions. The courses were: Athlete Representative I: I got to learn the basics of serving on a committee and solving problems and Athletes as Coaches: I got to learn how to become an effective coach and share my skills and knowledge with my peers.

I never thought that one trip to a bowling alley would lead to 12 years of things I never thought would happen. Now, I’m really excited to accomplish my next goals.

— Louis Fornataro

A couple weeks after my basketball team qualified for Summer Games, I was asked to give the oath at Opening Ceremonies. I was really nervous at first, but it felt great hearing thousands of people cheer me on. I knew if I could speak in front of almost 3,000 people, I could excel more when speaking with smaller groups. My Mentor and I got the honor of instructing the next Athlete Representative I course at Athlete Leadership University. Afterwards, I also got asked to serve on the Games Organizing Committee for the Western Fall Sectional at Slippery Rock, where I know my experience from that event would help the rest of the committee understand what the athletes want.

When you join special Olympics, you get a great opportunity to play any sport and hear your name called when you accomplish something. I got involved because in 2006, I had a good friend that got me told me to go bowling with them. I never thought that one trip to a bowling alley would lead to 12 years of things I never thought would happen. Now, I’m really excited to accomplish my next goals.

Louis Fornataro is an Athlete Representative and Athlete as Coach from Lawrence County and has been participating in Special Olympics for 12 years. Outside of Special Olympics, Louis enjoys going to the movies and hanging out with friends and family.

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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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