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Inspiring Stories

Six young male special Olympians standing in line celebrating
Photo of Allen Wales special Olympian

Photo of Allen Wales with parents

It's All for One and One for All at Special Olympics

"I couldn't play on the basketball team in high school because I was different. People thought they'd get my disease. But in Special Olympics, we're all on the same team, we get a chance, we belong, we grow…." Allen Wales is speaking to one of the many groups he addresses as a Special Olympics Global Messenger.

For Allen, his first Special Olympics event seven years ago was a revelation. "I just didn't realize how many people were out there like me," says Allen. "I was shocked!"

His shock quickly turned to pure pleasure at the idea of competing in two sports he loves, bowling and basketball. The experience has given him the confidence to go out into the world and live his life to the fullest. He's a prized employee at Walmart and regularly does what most people say is their #1 fear — public speaking.

His next giant step? He's training to become a coach like his parents, Gary and Linda.

"Here's what we do as coaches," says Gary. "We inspire, we perspire, so that they may aspire."