Special Olympics GB swimming stars shine as Olympic torchbearers
1 June 2012
Two Special Olympics GB swimming stars enjoyed being a part of the official London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay last Sunday in Wales.
Part of a team of ten Special Olympics athletes, Stephanie Beaton and Daniel Bendle were nominated through Coca-Cola’s Future Flames campaign, which is shining a spotlight on inspirational and outstanding individuals.
I carried the torch! Everyone was cheering and cheering.
23 year old Stephanie, from Dundee, absolutely loves to swim and joined Special Olympics in 2003 at 15. She was selected to compete in the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Glasgow in 2005 winning a Silver and a Bronze, and the National Summer Games 2009 winning a hat-trick of Gold, Silver and Bronze. She also represented Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Summer Games and brought home a Silver medal in the 4x50m freestyle. Stephanie belongs to three swim clubs and competes regularly at Scottish Disability Sports events including the Discovery Games and Scottish Championships.
Daniel, 24, of Swansea has been a Special Olympics GB swimmer since the age of 11. Sadly his mum passed away just two days before the Torch Relay. Daniel said: "I ran for my mum, I know she would be smiling. It is sad that she wasn't there to see me run. It was an excellent day."
Daniel is now a coach and works as a lifeguard and teacher for mainstream and learning disabled swimmers with his Special Olympics swimming club, the Swansea Stingrays. He won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at his first Special Olympics National Summer Games in Glasgow in 2005, then Gold and 3 Bronze medals at the National Summer Games in 2009 where he qualified for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens. Daniel was thrilled to represent his country, bringing home 2 Gold (100m and breast stroke) a Silver (50m relay) and a Bronze (200m breast stroke). Daniel also competed at the 2009 European Swimming Championships in Palma, Italy.
The Special Olympics athletes all set off as a group from Haverfordwest and completed a section of the leg that finished in Aberystwyth, Wales. The leg was on day eight of the 70-day Relay building up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The athletes received fantastic support from the thousands of local residents cheering them on as well as their family and friends who had travelled around the country to be there.
Thanks to Coca-Cola, the ten Special Olympics athletes were chosen in recognition of the passion that they demonstrate every day for sport and their achievements at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games which took place in Athens.
Karen Wallin, CEO Special Olympics Great Britain, added: “It’s great that our Special Olympics GB athletes were able to join the excitement this summer and carry the Olympic Flame!"