Athletes Prepare For Special Olympics

Two hours a day, four days a week, an Olympian works out at the YMCA.

Bicycling, stretching, walking, rowing, stair climbing and swimming, she pushes herself in preparation for the few seconds she will compete in three swim events during the 1991 International Special Olympics in July.

Why does she do it?

“It’s fun,” said 45-year-old Rosemary Holen.  “It cools me off.” 

Rosemary is one of 15 members of the Skyway/East YMCA Kellogg Club’s Special Olympics Team.  She is one of only 37 Minnesotans to have qualified for the International Games.

Marie Holen, her mother and coach, said the YMCA has played a big part in Rosemary’s development.  YMCA financial assistance has given them a place to train – the YMCA.  The training has improved Rosemary’s physical health and confidence.  And the people at the Y provide encouragement and support.

“Even strangers here see us at the same time everyday and come over and ask how Rosemary is doing,” Mrs. Holen said.  “The lifeguards give pointers.” 

Another bonus is that Rosemary feels secure at the YMCA.  Rosemary has mental retardation, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.  At first, she would only come to the Y with her mother.  But, over time, she has developed a routine and now feels comfortable working out at the YMCA alone.

Come cheer Rosemary on!  She will be competing in the 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle swim and 100-yard four-person freestyle relay.  The Games will be held July 19-27 at various locations throughout the Twin Cities.