People who see Rory Kinane of North Carolina at the skating rink think he’s a natural on the ice -- but it didn’t start out that way. His coach remembers how Rory would try to run on the ice, like he was running a regular road race. There were slips and falls, but Rory didn’t give up. He’d practice and practice -- until he got it right. Now he pushes on the ice, glides and gets some serious speed behind him. “Rory likes to go fast,” says coach Tappie Dellinger. And that’s a good thing, because that speed and dedication have gotten Rory a spot on Special Olympics Team USA for the upcoming World Winter Games. Rory’s intellectual disability can make it hard for him to accomplish some things. But Special Olympics has helped him learn discipline and find success, which has also been helping him off the ice. It was Rory's dad -- a hockey fan -- who got him involved in Special Olympics. The two did everything together. Rory's father passed away last year and the loss has hit him hard. Rory's mom says Special Olympics has been a real blessing during this difficult time, both for Rory and his brother, who is also in Special Olympics athlete. "They've been distracted in a positive way, gaining skills and self-confidence."
About Kate McKenna: Special Olympics Editorial and Multimedia Director