From the time I started gymnastics at the age of two, my life revolved around the sport. As a junior in high school, I worked out with my team five days a week and spent the rest of my time thinking about working out. As a member of the team, I competed against others, but never liked competition. My true passion was in the everyday practices and sense of accomplishment in learning new elements. I didn’t feel the need to prove myself by comparing my skills to others.

In 1995, the Special Olympics World Games were held near my hometown and our coach was involved in organizing the gymnastics venue. He asked the team to come out and volunteer for one day and I agreed to go with a few friends. Having been raised in a home where volunteering is an integral part of life, I assumed this would be one more day giving back to the community. I had no idea that what I found at the New Haven Coliseum would change my life.
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