The Voices of SOPA

During Special Olympics Pennsylvania‘s inaugural Indoor Winter Games in 2019, we took some time to sit down and talk to athletes throughout the event. Even though the 2020 Indoor Winter Games in York were cancelled, we wanted to share these interviews with you now. Below, you’ll find a collection of audio stories, which you can listen to by clicking, as well as portraits of these awesome athletes and their biographical information.

The Faces & Voices of Indoor Winter Games

Name: Kristine Progin
County: Lebanon
Sport: Floor Hockey Coach
Age: 44

“My dad had coached for years… I think that’s why I wanted to coach, because he and my mom had both coached before.”

Kristine Progin, Lebanon County

Name: Donte Vargas
County: Bedford
Sport: Floor Hockey
Age: 22

“We practice spin moves, getting the puck toward the net and we practice passing as well.”

Donte Vargas, Bedford County

Name: Hillary McFadden
County: Area M
Sport: Speed Skating
Age: 36

“When I was 17, I asked if I could do speed skating and they said, ‘no, you can’t do that [because you’re blind]’ and I said, ‘well sure I can. I can do anything I set my mind to.’ So we fought for it.”

Hillary McFadden, Area M

Name: Corey Zentner
County: York
Sport: Figure Skating
Age: 39

“I like my teammates. I try to help them to focus and not mess up. Try to help them do their best.”

Corey Zentner, York County

Name: Chloe Phillips
County: Lancaster
Sport: Swimming
Age: 21

“My goal is to embrace myself to do more, bigger events for public speaking.”

Chloe Phillips, Lancaster County

Name: Russell Green
County: York
Sport: Figure Skating
Age: 41

“[Coach Lin] takes the time in her efforts and she does whatever she needs to do with us… We like being here on Monday nights skating.”

Russell Green, York County

Name: Brandon Daehn & Elizabeth Brown
County: Area M
Sport: Speed Skating
Age: 29 & 22

“I do speed skating, tennis and long-distance walking and running. Summer is the only time I have free time.”

Elizabeth Brown, Area M

Name: Leah Cunningham
County: York
Sport: Figure Skating
Age: 15

“I do hockey and figure skating. I like it, it’s fun and it’s great.”

Leah Cunningham, York County

Name: Gabriel Stern
County: Lebanon
Sport: Floor Hockey
Age: 17

“It really means something to me that I can finally be supported in a place that I can actually call family for once.”

Gabriel Stern, Lebanon County

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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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