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Q & A with athlete Amanda Church

Amanda Church is a Special Olympics athlete with the LIFE Program on the Cape. Amanda has been competing in Special Olympics for more than 15 years and currently competes in basketball, swimming, and soccer. She represented the United States in swimming at the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles and in June she hosted the Special Olympics Massachusetts Summer Games Opening Ceremonies for the second year in a row!

Q- How has being an athlete with Special Olympics Massachusetts for so many years helped you with hosting big events like the Hall of Fame and Opening Ceremonies?

A- Being a Special Olympics athlete is an honor, and telling people all over the world who we are and what we can accomplish. A lot of people with disabilities hear the word “no” a thousand times, but with Special Olympics we are accepted and we hear them cheer us on and we say “Yes, we can.” We strive to reach our goal, which is winning a medal and proving those people that say no to us that yes, I do have the ability to work hard and achieve my goals, not only in sports but in life as well. 

Q-What was it like to have Trenni Kusnierek of NBC Sports Boston as a co-host? 

A- Hosting the Special Olympics Massachusetts Summer Games Opening Ceremony with Trenni was amazing. I learned a lot from her and she learned a lot from me. It is a honor to emcee Opening Ceremonies. I like to get the athletes pumped up and make sure they have fun. Also I am honored to be supported by the Special Olympics staff including CEO and President Mary Beth McMahon. 

Q- How did it feel to have NBC Sports broadcasting live at the event?

A- Having NBC Sports was awesome. I got the opportunity to be interviewed with Trenni before we began, and talked about Special Olympics 50th year. That is something I will never forget. Also, I hope they continue to come back and maybe film one of our sporting competitions live. 

Q- Would you say your accomplishments inspire other Special Olympics athletes? 

A- I would say I think a lot of athletes can look up to me as a role model/ambassador for Special Olympics Massachusetts. I have been a role-model for my former team in Easton, and I continue to be a role model every day for my team at LIFE! The LIFE Force. You can even ask my coach Ian Saarmann.

Q- Did you have any reservations about public speaking before hosting these events? 

A- I started public speaking for Special Olympics way back when Jay O’Brien was Director of the South Section, and I used to get nervous, but after 10 years I have zero nerves before speaking to a huge group, A) Because I am well prepared, and B) I use a trick my Dad Jim Church taught me, think of them in their underwear.

Q- Is there any advice you’d like to give other athletes that may look up to you? 

A- The advice I would give to any Special Olympics athlete, not just here but all over the world, is hard work pays off, when you work hard you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Three key things to succeed in life are hard work, dedication, and commitment. I do all these things at LIFE and with Special Olympics. I will continue to be a role model for Special Olympics for as long as I live.

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