Home Post Stories

Seun Adigun Spends the Day with Special Olympics Illinois Athletes


 

On Monday, February 18, Seun Adigun – Double Olympian- came back home to Chicago to spend the day with the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Seun’s career as an Olympic athlete has been nothing short of incredible. She represented Team Nigeria in 100m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympic Games and has competed all over the African continent. She later took on a new endeavor breaking into winter sports.

In 2016, she founded the Nigerian bobsled team. Adigun is also the first African Bobsled driver to lead a team from Nigeria to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Through her love of sport, she broke down barriers.

Seun is a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. As she leads the way to inclusion through sports, Adigun has been able to create opportunities, foster inclusivity, and encourage & motivate Special Olympics athletes around the world to push past any obstacle they may face.

Being a Chicago native, Seun’s return was particularly special.

She chose to spend her first day home with the fellow champions – the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

“Seun has embarked on a journey that would surpass many. Her accomplishments of not only competing in the 2012 Olympic Games, but also helping to cultivate the inaugural Nigerian bobsled team and competing last year are absolutely amazing, said Dani Chitwood, the Assistant Director of Region D for Special Olympics Illinois.

“She defied her critics and achieved greatness. It parallels the efforts of our athletes which makes her story so important.”

She visited a bowling qualifier for Search Inc., where Seun spent time cheering on the athletes as they worked to qualify for their regional competition.

Search is a community-based nonprofit whose programs serve more than 600 people and their families annually at locations stretching from the southwest side of Chicago to the northern suburbs of Waukegan and Mount Prospect.

Later that day, Seun toured Misericordia where even more Special Olympics Illinois athletes welcomed her. Misericordia serves over 600 children & adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities from diverse racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds.

There she was able to see the athletes in action! From powerlifting to rhythmic gymnastics practice she saw it all.

“It meant so much to be able to share time and space with the Special Olympics Illinois athletes I met on my trip to Chicago,” said Seun Adigun. “I felt the joy and determination of each person as they participated in their respective activities. Most importantly, I felt genuine love and appreciation from them when I came to show my support. It was truly an incredible feeling.”

Like Seun Adigun, Special Olympics athletes break barriers every day, they define the impossible.


UNSUNG HERO: Bill Asbury


 

Bill Asbury, Special Olympics Illinois volunteer, Board Member, and father of an athlete, was presented an unsung hero award for his long-time dedication and passion for Special Olympics Illinois.

What once started as a hobby, has now become a successful Special Olympics Illinois fundraiser.

January marked the 10th Anniversary for the 2019 Girls Indoor Softball Tournament at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. This year, twenty-eight traveling softball teams competed in this tournament.

The tournament allowed girls ages 12 to 16 from multiple states to compete for a trophy with all efforts benefiting Special Olympics Illinois.

“Special Olympics has had such a positive impact on my daughter, Brenna’s life. I was inspired to help raise money for other Special Olympic athletes to compete in the sports they love,” said Bill.

For the first time ever Bill put together an exhibition Unified softball game. Special Olympics athletes shared the field with peer partners from the Elverado and Du Quoin Middle School softball teams. In the tournament, 58 Special Olympics Illinois athletes participated in various parts of the three-day event.

“The athletes love him and know him and want to be here,” added Kim Talley- Region K Co-Director.

The softball tournament is not the only fundraiser Bill takes part in, he also holds a baseball tournament, a polar plunge, and a duck derby dash. Nevertheless, Bill could not have imagined how much impact his tournament and the other fundraising efforts would have on some many others.

Bill has raised over $700,000 to support the organization and the athletes. In Bill’s eyes, the real unsung heroes are the athletes.

Link to full story: HERE