PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — Special Olympics golfer Amanda Vito thought she was just going out for a quick nine holes with her dad Thursday at Shadow Lake in Penfield. Instead she got a huge surprise full of friends, cheering, and celebration.
Ambushed on the course, Amanda, 40, was told she is going to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games next year in Orlando. The extra kicker?
“The games will be hosted at the ESPN center and the Disney complex,” says Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation Executive Director.
Costello and others sprung the news on Amanda. “Well, we wanted to have some fun with it,” she said.
And Amanda is tickled. “I’m very surprised! My dad kept it from me, I’m so mad at him! But this is a big opportunity for me,” she says.
Amanda has been an athlete for 20 years and currently competes in both golf and soccer. She has earned more than 300 medals, and says she’s going to add to that tally.
“It’s going to be awesome! We’re both going to come home with the gold,” says Amanda.
But she says the best part will be seeing some new faces. “You’re going to get to see all different people. Meet different friends,” she says.
Amanda says she hopes this surprise can uplift others. “If you put your mind to anything, you can do it. Just do the best that you can,” she says.
The Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022 in Florida. More than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean will compete.
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 68,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.com, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.