Valerie D. (Darling Ducklings Team)

Special Olympics athletes from around the state
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Darling Ducklings Team

2020 Southern Ducky Derby Dash Ambassador: Valerie Densler

My name is Valerie Densler and I have been a participant in Special Olympics since 2017. I became an athlete because I love to play sports and be active. I am also outgoing, very friendly, and try to get to know everyone I meet.

I love that since I am a Special Olympic athlete, I get the opportunity to meet various people from different areas and cultures, including fellow athletes that I wouldn’t get to meet and begin friendships with otherwise. I think it is awesome that we as athletes, get to pick which team we want to represent and be a part of. I love being a part of the Plane Pull and Polar Plunge with members of my team and the community in which we represent.

My favorite part of being a Special Olympic athlete is that winning is not the most important aspect but also having good sportsmanship, having fun, and encouraging others is included. I enjoy being able to compete for medals and sharing the joy of winning with my teammates and congratulating the winners. I think it is really cool how our competitions and games let us travel to different parts of Illinois. I like how we have an opening and closing ceremony just like the summer and winter Olympic Games do. I'm a huge fan of the summer and winter Olympic Games so being a member of this community is awesome. One thing that I love to do besides play in the different sports is attend the Victory Dance at the summer and winter games.

The sports that I have participated in are: basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, power-lifting, snow shoeing, softball, swimming, and track and field (50m dash, 100m walk, and shot put).I get to do a lot of cool and fun things being a Special Olympic athlete but one of my favorite activities that I have done has been the Southern Illinois Ducky Derby. I get to be outgoing and promote my team while also raising money for it. I like that I get to go to different places to sell merchandise such as the ducks, and meet new people and then see everyone at the race. While at the race, I enjoy spending time with my friends, fellow team members, and other athletes that I compete with. It is a lot of fun and a great activity to promote Special Olympics in my community.