Leslie Venema

Athlete • Dimondale, MI • Cross-Country Skiing

Leslie Venema is a Special Olympics athlete from Dimondale, Michigan who will be participating in the Cross Country Skiing competition at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. As a Special Olympics athlete, Leslie feels excited and honored as her 20 years of hard work and dedication has led her to this great achievement. Leslie stated that she feels privileged to represent her country as a cross country skier and is ready to compete as well as create new friendships while experiencing the beauty of Austria. Although cross country skiing is her favorite sport, Leslie has annually competed in swimming and basketball. “I just love being around my teammates, they have inspired me in so many ways,” Leslie said. At the age of 12, she knew she wanted to become a dedicated athlete of Special Olympics Michigan, stating that “they stand for a good cause, encouraging people to be the best that they can truly be.” She also says that Special Olympics has taught her to be more responsible and independent. By gaining those qualities, Leslie is currently employed at a local daycare center and attends special training on becoming a global ambassador. In 2014, Leslie even traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet the Representatives of Michigan, with whom she shared her experiences with about being an athlete. “I have created a paper train calendar to count the days till Austria, I am just so excited”, Leslie said as she shared her enjoyment of accomplishing her goal of finally being a member of the Special Olympics US National Team.

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