The 2022 Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) Athlete of the Year Award was presented to Amanda Faggart of Cabarrus County. Competing in bowling, swimming and tennis with Special Olympics Cabarrus County, Faggart is dedicated to improving her skills as an athlete and as a leader in her community. The award was presented by SONC President/CEO Keith L. Fishburne at the 2022 SONC Fall Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I started with Special Olympics when I was in school,” said Faggart. “I was in high school at the time and wanted to get involved to meet people and compete in sports.”
Over the years, she has learned that swimming and tennis are her favorite to compete in. Also participating in an adaptive tennis program to hone her skills, Faggart is consistent in her daily training. That consistency did not cease as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, channeling her energy into alternative training options.
In response to the pandemic, SONC launched its Partner Up Power Up program in 2020, an eight-week Unified Sports® training and fitness plan that can be completed from home, without access to internet. Unified Sports programs bring individuals with and without intellectual disabilities together through sports, helping to create communities of acceptance and respect. Through Partner Up Power Up, Faggart has improved her eating habits and level of activity.
Since 2020, Faggart has been involved with the program, encouraging other athletes to do the same. Serving as chairperson for the Special Olympics Cabarrus County Athlete Council, Faggart understands the impact of athlete leadership.
“Amanda has served for the last year and a half as the chairperson,” said Special Olympics Cabarrus County Local Program Coordinator Emily Riley. “She is an exemplary athlete and an outstanding leader… Everyone knows Amanda, respects her and sees her as an athlete leader. As the local Program coordinator, I often go to Amanda to get her opinion and ask for help.”
As chairperson, Faggart leads regular Zoom sessions, facilitating conversation among council members on topics pertaining to the Special Olympics movement locally. Regarding her participation, Faggart anticipates “getting involved with it more, being around more people and coming up with activities for the council members to do.”
“She is very deserving of the SONC Athlete of the Year Award, and we can’t be prouder of her,” said Riley.
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, the organization has used the transformative power of sports to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 40,000 athletes in North Carolina inspire thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide. SONC offers year-round training and competition in 20 Olympic-type sports on local and state levels as well as health and wellness initiatives to improve the health status and increase access to community health resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Youth become agents of change through Unified Champion Schools, an education and sports-based program created by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities as well as empower them to become youth leaders and create change in their community. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at www.specialolympicsnc.com. Engage with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.