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Kai

Kai

Monroe County, Florida

Kai is one busy lady! During her eleven years as a Special Olympics athlete, she has competed in bowling, cycling, bocce, stand up paddle, swimming, and flag football. She wants others to know how fun playing sports through Special Olympics is and was named Most Inspirational Athlete. Special Olympics allows her to meet new friends and has helped her become more independent and confident. On top of all her sports accolades, Kai works as a Publix associate and enjoys helping customers.

Torie

Torie

Clay County, Florida

Torie doesn’t view Special Olympics as just a place to play sports; for her, Special Olympics is a family. Her infectious smile shows just how much she loves cheerleading, gymnastics, and track. She is most proud of her first gold medal she earned in gymnastics, but loves anything that involves music and dancing. Special Olympics has improved Torie’s patience and allowed her to have fun and be celebrated for who she is.

Ellis

Ellis

Polk County, Florida

Ellis loves being part of a team – whether that is participating in Special Olympics or working for Publix. In the seven years he has been involved with Special Olympics, Ellis has competed in basketball, bowling, track, and stand up paddle. One of his favorite memories is winning a gold medal in basketball on his birthday. Although he is an accomplished athlete, Special Olympics has helped teach him that life is not all about winning. He knows the value of being a good friend, teammate, and coworker.

Jonathan

Jonathan

Palm Beach County, Florida

Jonathan is a man of many talents – he is a three-sport Special Olympics athlete, Publix associate, public speaker, virtual game show creator, and much more! He won gold in tennis at the 2011 Special Olympics World Games and plays in a local men’s tennis league. During his 29 years as an athlete, he has learned that Special Olympics offers something for everyone whether they want to just have fun and socialize, learn something new, or reach the top of their sport as a serious competitor. He has worked at Publix for 19 years and loves assisting customers and telling others about Special Olympics.

Luis

Luis

Palm Beach County, Florida

Luis gets along well with everyone he meets. Special Olympics has helped him become more outgoing and given him opportunities to play multiple sports. He is appreciative of the Special Olympics staff, volunteers, and coaches for going out of their way to make sure he always has fun while staying safe and healthy. When he’s not playing sports, Luis loves to dance, watch movies, and work hard at his job.

Leonardo

Leonardo

Pasco County, Florida

Being a part of Special Olympics makes Leo so happy, he just wants to dance! This energetic athlete participates in basketball, bowling, soccer, and cycling. He loves being on a team and getting to wear a uniform. For eight years, Special Olympics has been an important part of his life, and he wants more people to get involved as well.

Brian

Brian

Collier County, Florida

Brain has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 40 years, and it has changed his life for the better. He loves that Special Olympics can give athletes courage and camaraderie, all while improving their athletic abilities. In his own life, Brian has seen improvement in his concentration through golf and his sense of balance through stand up paddle. He enjoys the travel opportunities that Special Olympics provides and the one-on-one time with his coach on the golf course.

Andres

Andres

Collier County, Florida

Before Special Olympics, Andres tried out for sports teams, but never made the cut. Now, he gets to show what he can do through playing basketball, bowling, soccer, and flag football. His team even won the State Flag Football Championship last year, a moment that remains a favorite memory. During the past five years with Special Olympics, Andres has come out of his shell and learned valuable leadership lessons along with having fun with his teammates.

Katie

Katie

Osceola County, Florida

Katie’s twelve years as a Special Olympics athlete has helped her become more outgoing and has helped her make new friends. She also loves working at Publix and the pride she feels by earning a paycheck. Before Special Olympics, she was only a swimmer, but now she currently competes in tennis, swimming, bowling, and basketball. Katie wants to inspire others to volunteer with Special Olympics and experience how much fun it can be.

Kayla

Kayla

Cherokee County, Georgia

Kayla would not be as brave as she is without all of the lessons and experiences Special Olympics has given her. Kayla, a 25 year old multi-medalist in swimming, became so brave through Special Olympics that she helped run the Flame of Hope with members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run at this year’s State Summer Games. Thanks to Special Olympics, Kayla now focuses on her strengths rather than her disability.

Claire

Claire

Williamson County, Tennessee

Claire began participating in the Special Olympics Young Athletes program at just 2 1/2 years old. Through the program, she has grown in not only her skills and strength, but most notably in her confidence. The physical activity and experience with her peers is an absolute invaluable gift for her and her parents as they watch her continue to achieve greatness.

Joe

Joe

Chesterfield County, Virginia

Joe attended his first Special Olympics Summer Games this year, competing in the 25-meter assisted walk and tennis ball throw. He and his father loved feeling a part of a team and look forward to competing in additional events in the future! Highlights of this year’s games included socializing with friends and learning about the benefits of teamwork.

Gus

Gus

Richland County, South Carolina

Gus, from Columbia, South Carolina has worked for Publix for three years and has participated in Special Olympics since high school. He has trained and competed in basketball, bowling, and track and field. Gus loves his job at Publix where he gets to work with several of his friends.

Kylie

Kylie

Charleston County, South Carolina

Kylie has been involved with Special Olympics since 1999. She has trained and competed in multiple sports including bowling, basketball, softball, soccer, bocce, tennis, sailing, kayaking, and running.  She enjoys competition but also enjoys traveling and making new friends. When Kylie isn’t training, she’s hard at work at Publix where she’s worked for 10 years.

Brad

Brad

Tuscaloosa County, Alabama

Brad has been a customer service associate at his local Publix for 4 years. He enjoyed Special Olympics in high school until numerous medical challenges precluded his further participation. Among other things, he loves people, music, and dance. His job coach shares that he has the ability to overcome every challenge with an infectious smile and will to succeed.

Brogan

Brogan

Johnston County, North Carolina

Brogan found Special Olympics in 2015 and has never looked back! The almost 12-year-old is a bundle of energy and enjoys staying as busy as possible. Training and competing in Alpine skiing, equestrian, and tennis certainly keeps her busy year-round with Special Olympics. She loves finally having a place she belongs! Recently, Brogan was trained as a Special Olympics North Carolina Global Messenger, preparing her to give speeches on behalf of the organization and share the message of inclusion with those around her.

Marchello

Marchello

Wake County

When Marchello first discovered Special Olympics, he was just 13 years old and so shy that he had stayed away from sports his entire life, despite having quite a bit of natural athleticism. As soon as he ran (and won) his first race, he knew that he had found a place to belong. As someone who was teased quite a bit, the acceptance and support of his teammates and coaches meant the world and helped unlock Marchello’s larger than life personality. Marchello strives to be a good leader and role model for his fellow Special Olympics athletes.

Kai
Torie
Ellis
Jonathan
Luis
Leonardo
Brian
Andres
Katie
Kayla
Claire
Joe
Gus
Kylie
Brad
Brogan
Marchello
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For 38 years Publix® and P&G have been committed to supporting Special Olympics and its athletes. Your purchase of a Special Olympics torch in-store continues the support of this great cause.

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