Special Olympics Colorado athlete, Caitlin Hass, shares her story in the guest blog post below!
My name is Caitlin Hass. I have been an athlete with Special Olympics Colorado for eleven and a half years. I am involved with the State Youth Activation Committee, Athlete Leadership Program, and many different sports. I am writing this blog to showcase my story through talking about various SOCO events, the organization, and how SOCO has impacted me.
When I was born, I weighed two pounds and half an ounce. I had severe bleeding in my brain and doctors told my parents I would never read, write, walk, or talk.
My chance of doing all these things was pretty slim. My parents put me through early intervention programs to help me learn how to do all the things the doctors said I would not do.
I got involved in Special Olympics Colorado starting when I was eight years old. My family and I started to get involved when one of my elementary school teachers mentioned it to my parents. I first started out with basketball and then transitioned into swimming. After I started swimming, I knew that would become my primary sport. I loved swimming because I enjoyed the feel of the water and it had a way of calming me.
Before finding Special Olympics Colorado, I struggled to make friends and to fit in. It was difficult for me as the kids in school knew I was in the special education program and they treated me differently for it. That was not fun. I felt isolated. I was often picked on and bullied.Caitlin Hass | Special Olympics Colorado Athlete
Because of Special Olympics Colorado, I accomplished many things that I would have never thought possible. One of those things is competing as a part of Team Colorado at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington. I competed as a part of the swim team alongside my dad, Randy, who was the coach. I had the opportunity to compete in the High-Performance Division in which you qualify based on time. I competed in the High Performance 100 Individual Medley, High Performance 100 Freestyle, and the 400 Freestyle. I also did the butterfly leg of the 200 Medley Relay. In total at the games, I earned 2 silver medals, a bronze medal, and a 5th place ribbon.
Now, I am 19 years old. I currently attend college at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado and have plans to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado next fall. I still participate with SOCO in a variety of sports and activities. I participate in swimming, basketball, and more recently soccer and bowling. I am also involved with the Youth Activation Committee (YAC) and Athlete Leadership Program (ALPs). Without Special Olympics Colorado, I would not have been able to accomplish the things I have and would not be the person I am today.