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Kerri Leonardo

Athlete • Coral Springs, FL • Alpine Skiing

Kerri Leonardo of Coral Springs, Florida has been a part of Special Olympics for 15 years and will continue to represent her country as a part of team USA at the 2017 Winter Games in Austria. She originally started her athletic career as a cheerleader, but then moved to competing in basketball which she continues to play and coach. Along with basketball, Leonardo also coaches other athletes in bocce, swimming, and bowling. With a long list of accomplishments - Member of the Athlete Leader Program, certified in YAP training, Athlete of the Year 2010, Inspirational Athlete Leader 2012 - to name some, she is geared up for the upcoming Winter Games. “Special Olympics is important because people get to be themselves and to play their sports without people putting them down.” Having competed three years ago at the World Games in South Korea, where Leonardo met and made friends with many other athletes from around the world, she is excited for the same social opportunities at the upcoming games. Not only with competitors from other countries, but with people within Special Olympics USA. “I get to play sports that I didn't get to play at my school. No one judges how good I am or how I play” said Leonardo. For next year’s games held in Austria she will be competing in Alpine skiing - an event she's been training in for 12 years. Though snowy mountains may be hard to find around her home state of Florida, that doesn’t slow her down. “We train on the beach. We put our boots and skis on the sand and set up cones. When there’s hills we go down then climb back to the top. Or we rollerblade.” Although she says she may not be the type to live year round in colder temperatures, she stays excited for the cold weather to come. Both in Vermont for training and finally in Austria for the games. “I like it to a certain point. In South Korea it was freezing but I liked it.”

 
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