To honor Special Olympics’ Global Week of Inclusion (7.19 to 7.24), we’re celebrating the amazing spirits of Special Olympics athletes. Meet Emma! 

We caught up with Emma to get the scoop on her favorite things about being an athlete. 

Aerie: Which sport is your favorite? 

Emma: Soccer. 

Aerie: Why do you love competing in Special Olympics? 

Emma: I like to meet new friends. 

Aerie: What’s the best part of being an athlete? 

Emma: I am grateful that I can be active. 

Aerie: What advice do you have for other athletes? 

Emma: Be proud, try with everything you have and good luck! 

Emma is 24 years old and has participated in Special Olympics for 16 years, first as an athlete in her elementary school, and then joining the Allegheny County Bulldogs. She has competed in track and field, swimming, soccer, basketball and bowling.  Emma has participated in the state summer games at Penn State University in the swimming events. She has also attended Pennsylvania’s multi-sports summer camp held in the Ligonier area for several years to hone her athletic skills. Emma has actively supported her county Special Olympics program, participating in the Polar Plunge® for Special Olympics and being a torch bearer at county tournaments. 

Emma was a member of the Steel City All Stars, a competitive cheer group for individuals with special needs.  She also competed in the adaptive horseback riding program through 4-H, having placed at the state level in Harrisburg, Pa. She participated in Buddy Up tennis program in Monroeville, a tennis program for individuals with Down syndrome.  Emma also plays baseball for the Miracle League of Western Pennsylvania. Her latest venture is a participant in the My Ground Strokes Tennis program at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa. 

Emma enjoys evening campfires, making smores and telling camp stories. She was crowned Homecoming Queen her senior year of high school.  Emma was Westmoreland County YWCA Sportswoman of the Year in 2015. Emma participated in the Best Buddies program at Duquesne University and competed in the Miss Duquesne Pageant, where she was named Miss Congeniality.   

See more from Emma and our Global Week of Inclusion celebration here

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