Keysville Coach Heads To Special Olympics World Games

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

RICHMOND — Los Angeles will have nearly 7,000 new “stars” as athletes from around the globe gather for the year’s largest humanitarian and sports event, Special Olympics World Games.

The U.S. “home team” will include 304 athletes and 43 Unified Partners competing in 17 sports, 102 volunteer coaches and 42 volunteer sports and management team members, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The team also includes several Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams, where people with and without intellectual disability compete together, as teammates.

Special Olympics USA has the largest delegation, 491 members, making the big trip to Los Angeles. Special Olympics Virginia is proud to announce that one unified partner, two volunteers, two Final Leg torch runners, seven athletes and two local coaches — Joanne Catron (Keysville) and Barbara Haven (Halifax) — will take part in the action.

Email newsletter signup

A volunteer with Special Olympics since the 1980s, Joanne will head to Los Angeles with Team Virginia to serve as bocce coach for the 2015 World Games. She began coaching in the late 80s and has coached aquatics, bocce and basketball.

Currently Joanne is a local coordinator and coach. “Participating in the World Games lets me experience the training, competition and socialization that Special Olympics offers on a global scale.”

Barbara has been a Special Olympics coach for 30 years. This summer, her legacy will continue as she heads to Los Angeles with Team Virginia as a World Games aquatics coach.

Barbara Haven

Barbara Haven

“Special Olympics has made a tremendous impact on my life. I have made great friends and learned about sports I had never tried before. I have also been inspired by athletes who compete because they truly love sports.”

The even will be broadcasted on July 25 at 9 p.m. EST. Coverage will air primarily on ESPN, with some programs appearing on ABC or ESPN2.

About Special Olympics

World Games

This prominent world stage brings attention to the Special Olympics movement and helps create positive, sometimes lifesaving policy change for people with intellectual disabilities in countries around the world.

With an anticipated 30,000 volunteers and 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.