BY: JILL HAMMERGREN
At today’s Opening Ceremony, Special Olympics athlete Tim Corrigan from Chicago served as the Co-Grand Marshal. The 75-year-old honoree’s appearance at the Opening Ceremony came 50 years after he was one of the first athletes to join Special Olympics in 1968.
Corrigan was participating in square dancing events in Gage Park in Chicago when he was approached to get involved with the newly formed organization. He began competing in track and field events like softball throw, 50-yard dash as well as bowling, golf and bocce.
“It was exciting and fun. It was something to do. I made a lot of friends,” said Corrigan.
When asked about whether he was surprised to see the success of Special Olympics, he said, “No, I knew it would be great!” Corrigan was emotional when he was preparing for his role as Co-Grand Marshal saying, “I am just so happy to be here.”
Corrigan traveled to Seattle with his younger sisters Mary Ellen Baker and Suzy Longawa. They say he maintains a busier social life than they have. Longawa said, “Special Olympics has been a wonderful opportunity for Tim, he’s traveled the world and made so many friends. He just loves it and so do we.”
At the 25th Anniversary celebration for Special Olympics, Corrigan lit the cauldron. He will be in Chicago when Special Olympics celebrates the 50th Anniversary later this month.