Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Gail Morning

#50for50: Volume 32
▪️ Gail Morning
▪️ 36 years old
▪️ Bucks County

“I was 5 years old when my mom was putting me on track and field. And from there I did tennis, bowling, swimming, bocce and powerlifting. They told me to keep practicing and to continue doing it. But track is not my favorite sport, so I didn’t continue but my favorite sports are swimming, powerlifting and bocce. When I was 15, I started powerlifting. Coach Rick in Philly, I’ve known him since I was a baby, was the coach and he worked with us. I didn’t know much about it before I joined, but we kept practicing and learning and getting better. When I first walked in it was a little difficult. It was different. I didn’t know how to do deadlift or bench. And we kept making the weights heavier and heavier. But eventually, I lifted 275kg in Dublin, Ireland. … We got picked to go [to World Games] for weightlifting and coach Sean was our coach. It was a long trip. Opening Ceremonies was shocking. It was shocking because my heart was beating so fast. Me and my dad travel out of the county, so we were used to that part, but this was my first time to go to Special Olympics World Games. It was different. I liked it. It was so green. There were lots of sheep and the people were very friendly. I got three gold medals and coach Sean was being goofy in the hotel. He would knock on the doors and say “room service” and then flipped our beds over. And we were running down the hallway. I felt proud of myself. I think I put in eight weeks of practice and I trained for an hour every Sunday. … On June 1st, 2007, they had a send-off party for World Games and they asked me if I wanted to work at TGI Friday’s. So I said yes, and I’ve been working there ever since — for 13 years. Right now, I pretty much do everything except for being a server and a cook. I like it. … In swimming, I do long distance. I do the 400, the 800 and the 1500. And in 2007, I went to China [Summer World Games] for swimming. I got one 6th, two 4th and one bronze. The best part was the fireworks and the Opening Ceremonies. I loved making new friends and meeting people there. … I’m also a Global Messenger. We had to go to a training camp with my mentor and they helped us to learn how to do Global Messenger. So we did that for three or four days and then we came home. We learned how to write out our speeches. I went to Philly, one of the hotels, and they did an auction and a talk and I spoke at that. I did a golf outing. I did the Knights of Columbus meeting. … We also got to go to Egypt in 2013 to help Special Olympics Egypt athletes learn how to swim. They had two athletes and two coaches. And coach Alice was with us for swimming. They gave us a first class flight and we did sight-seeing, we went to the pyramids, we went to the museums, I rode on a camel. That was different. Coach Alice told me how to show the swimmers what they should do and then they followed me and they did what I did.”

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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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