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Kildare > Special Olympics 2003 > Host Towns > Naas > Rita Lawlor - Global Messenger

New Zealand FlagHOST TOWNS

Host Town: Naas Host to the New Zealand Team

Newsletter Spring 2003

Rita Lawlor - Global Messenger

Rita Lawlor - Global MessengerRita is a native of Naas, born at Newbridge Road, in 1957. She has played a major role in the Special Olympic movement since 1978. The best way to outline Rita's praise for the Special Olympics and its involvement in her life can be summed up in the following extract from her book Moving On.

"I started with the Special Olympics in 1978. Since then, the Special Olympics has opened up a whole new world for me. It has helped me to meet new people and trust them. It has helped me to travel on my own."

"Gymnastics is my sport. I have learned a lot of gymnastic skills, and the greatest joy for me was to represent Ireland in the International Games in South Bent, USA in 1987. I went on to win the all-round competition."

"Having the chance to compete in gymnastics has given me the courage and confidence to do my daily job. Now I am a gymnastics coach in Bayside, Dublin. I have been able to share my joy and happiness with my friends and family. I have made them feel proud of me."

Rita was one of twelve athletes appointed to the global messengers for the Special Olympics in 1998, the organisations' thirteenth anniversary. This position took her to America, where she met Muhammed Ali, President Clinton and representatives of groups for people who experienced discrimination due to disability. In 1990 she co- founded the Dublin Self-Advocacy Group to campaign for the rights of people with learning difficulties and improve the way we look at these people and their abilities, partly by asking the public not to use the term "mentally handicapped" and calling for people with learning difficulties to be shown in the media more often.


Naas Host Town | Special Olympics

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