Stephanie Handojo Embodies Real Olympic Spirit

July 31, 2012

Stephanie ‘Fani’ Handojo is one of many Special Olympics athletes around the world who puts in the same hard work and dedication that the athletes leading up to the London 2012 Olympics Games do.

230x300_Stephanie Torch Run

28 June 2012: Stephanie Handojo runs with the Olympics Torch in Nottingham, England.

A beacon of Inspiration

Stephanie's excelled in sport and music, and lauded from her local community up to the Office of the President of the Indonesian Republic. In recognition of her achievements, the 20 year old represented Indonesia in London 2012 Olympic Torch Run in Nottinghamshire on 28 June.

Nominated by UNICEF Indonesia and the British Council, Stephanie was part of International Inspiration, the official international sports legacy programme of London 2012. Stephanie was selected as one of the 20 young people for their “dedication and commitment to inspiring children and young people in their communities through the power of sport, or for the personal challenges they have overcome in their lives.”


300x200_Stephanie Training

Stephanie training in her home city of Jakarta, Indonesia.

A Dream Fulfilled

For Stephanie’s mum, Maria Yustina, seeing her daughter in the Olympic Torch Relay made her “extremely happy and proud. “To be an Olympic Torchbearer, selected from 12 million children – this is such a rare opportunity and a tremendous achievement for her. Fani proves that with perseverance, discipline, and zeal she can achieve her dreams.”

For Stephanie, the honour is a bonus to an already wonderful 2012 – this year she graduates from vocational school.


300x200_Stephanie Athens

Gold in Athens for Stephanie.

Zeal for Success

Stephanie’s feats stem from Maria’s unwavering commitment to Stephanie’s excellence. Maria recognizes her daughter’s potential and sees no limitations. Despite a setback that put Stephanie out of the pool, Maria knew she would succeed eventually.
“Once, during a swimming competition, Stephanie almost drowned,” said Maria.  “That traumatised her and she didn’t swim for three years after that.”

Maria helped Stephanie conquer her fear, gathering Stephanie in her arms and wading into the middle of the pool, assuring her daughter that she would be safe.

Once Stephanie’s confidence was restored, Maria worked closely with Stephanie’s swimming coaches on her training regime. Stephanie trains three times weekly, four times if it’s before a competition, focusing on conditioning, weight training and pacing.  The hard work paid off. “She’s consistently in the top three in local and national competitions,” says Maria. Stephanie’s experience culminated in a gold medal for the 50 metres Division Breaststroke event at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.


300x200_Family

Pillar of support: Stephanie with her family in Nottingham.

Three 'D's of Sportsmanship

Maria is familiar with the rigors of competition – when she was nine, she played competitive badminton at national level for eight years. Maria’s philosophy to motivate Stephanie is a simple one of discipline, determination and dedication: “To succeed, you need to stay disciplined and persevere in your training. Each athlete must strive to have a high level of sportsmanship and maintain maximum performance. They must be mentally prepared to accept defeat, not despair and give up. I remind Stephanie of this every time before a competition.”


300x200_II Group

Stephanie together with her International Inspiration teammates.

The Dream Continues

Stephanie’s next challenge is to continue developing an independent life. Currently she works in the family laundromat alongside her parents and siblings. One of Stephanie’s dreams is to be an inspiration for the Down Syndrome community, and to teach Down Syndrome children self reliance.


View From The Top

Salihin bin Sinai conquered Africa's highest peak.
Learn More ››


Fists Held High

The 2011 World Summer Games inspired Mio Osato to blossom.
Learn More ››



Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Videos and Photos

DifferentBarry Cairns tells what it's like to be a Special Olympics athlete.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

SpeechlessSpecial Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Summer GamesAround the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Photos on FBSee photos and comments from our supporters around the world.See Photos »


Videos and Photos

Hope in HaitiLeo and Gedeon play in makeshift fields, tent towns, wherever they can.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Finding His VoiceDavid Egan has always dreamed big. Now look at him!Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Sport Teaches UsOur life-changing work is fueled by the power of sport.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Very Very SpecialMusic helps Special Olympics make an impact worldwide.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Around The WorldGreat photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Focus on ChangeWhat we do can't be done without our partners.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Who We AreWe are athletes, families, celebs, volunteers and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Playing UnifiedUnified Sports reveals strengths in every team member.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Healthier AthletesOur free health clinics are making a huge difference.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Deon NamisebHe's a speaker and role model. It didn't start that way in Namibia.Learn More »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan