Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Claire Crego

#50for50: Volume 5
▪️ Claire Crego
▪️ 36 years old
▪️ Area M

“Because I know I’m strong. I know I’m really strong, so I thought that I should try powerlifting. I had done volleyball for a couple of years before this and this is my first Central Fall Sectional for powerlifting. I loved it. I didn’t get to go to Olympic Village, but I did get to go there other years and overall it was really cool. … I’m the only girl in Area M who does powerlifitng, so I keep the guys in line. The first time I ever tried it, I think I lifted 75 kg and I can bench press 95 kg. Today I deadlifted 250. Overall, it was a little easy and a little hard to get the form down. It was a little bit of both. … I feel really good about it. I feel really upbeat and proud. I’m from Carlisle, so I have to represent Area M. [Being in Special Olympics] is the best because it means I get to meet other people in different counties and I get to see other women or other people, men and women, compete in powerlifting.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Craig Maurer

#50for50: Volume 4
▪️ Craig Maurer
▪️ 66 years old
▪️ Bethlehem City

“I’m from Easton and I did powerlifting. I lived my whole life in Easton. I’ve been doing Special Olympics for 40 years. But I’m retired now. My last competition was here [at the 2019 Eastern Fall Sectional at DeSales University]. I can’t do it anymore, so I’m retired. Before that, I had to quit swimming and I quit gym because I couldn’t reach the rings anymore. So then I did powerlifting. … Mom made me start it. She said, ‘You start lifting,’ and I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ It’s good. It keeps me healthy. That’s why I got muscles.”

Note: Prior to his retirement, Craig accomplished just about everything a Special Olympics Pennsylvania athlete could hope to accomplish. He represented Special Olympics USA powerlifting at the 2010 World Games in Athens (and was the oldest member of the delegation), he represent Special Olympics Pennsylvania gymnastics at the 2006 USA Games in Iowa and he was inducted into the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 2012.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Jessica Hott

#50for50: Volume 3
▪️ Jessica Hott
▪️ 28 years old
▪️ Bedford County

“I just feel like myself when I run. I feel a lot better. If I skip a few days, I feel like ‘blah.’ I feel like I’m missing out on something. I’ve always trained myself to do it. I’ve done 5Ks for years. In a way, I was a loner, but I just did it for fun. I just went my own way. But when I joined Special Olympics, I got to meet new people and meet coaches who can help you. I’m in better shape now because of it. I’ve met a lot of friends. … Last year was my first year with mini javelin and the first time I competed at Summer Games for track. Before that [at the Central Spring Sectional] I won four gold. It’s exciting, but I don’t brag, really. I just get what I get. … I had always done softball since I joined Special Olympics in 2010 and always loved softball even before that. My sister Liz played [softball] and I take after her. She lives in State College now, but she comes to watch me play. I have made so many friends through Special Olympics. Like Christa and Gina. And Michael and Roland. We go bowling, we go to the movies. … I have a cat, a dog and three horses. I love taking care of them, helping clean the stalls and watching after them. And I also help my mom out in her store in Bedford. Tomorrow I’ll be doing another 5K. I just love to run.”

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.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Wayne Chisolm

Today, we’re honored to begin Special Olympics Pennsylvania: #50for50, a year-long series featuring the people of Special Olympics Pennsylvania. We hope you enjoy this journey as much as we enjoy talking to those who make our organization what it is…

#50for50: Volume 1
▪️ Wayne Chisolm
▪️ 48 years old
▪️ Area M

“In track & field my favorite event is the 1500m. I love the feeling of hanging behind and then catching people right at the end. It feels good, but sometimes I get tired. … I like to wear crazy wigs and hats all the time. Just to stand out. I like getting attention from everybody, but sometimes the coach tells me not to wear them. … I grew up in Harrisburg and I’ve lived there my whole life. I’ve been a part of Special Olympics for 40 years and have gone to every Fall Fest and went to Nationals in 2014. They recognized me for being there 30 years. I was inducted into the [Special Olympics Pennsylvania] Hall of Fame in ’05, too, and that felt really good to be recognized. … I work at the Weis Market on Union Deposit Road in frozen foods. Stocking them and things like that. I’ve been doing that for 28 years. … Being in Special Olympics, it means I meet new people, see new faces. You get to challenge other people when you race and you get to be brave in the attempt. You compete, but you also encourage others to come out on top. … I’m proud to be a part of Special Olympics and represent Area M.”