Dawson Creek athlete David Johnston has achieved a lot with Special Olympics, and he is committed to helping Special Olympics BC (SOBC) grow in his community.
Johnston joined SOBC almost 30 years ago because he wanted to meet new people. He says the best part of Special Olympics has been making new friends from across Canada and the world at competitions.
“It is really good. You get to travel to different cities and do different sports and they treat you with dignity and respect,” Johnston said.
One of Johnston’s most memorable experiences with Special Olympics was competing at the Special Olympics Canada 2008 Winter Games in Quebec City. Johnston medaled in all of his alpine skiing events.
“I was very happy and excited that I achieved one of my dreams,” Johnston said.
Johnston said preparing for the competition was a lot of work, including dryland training, swimming, and practicing going through slalom and super-G gates.
“It was a really strenuous thing, but it was worth it,” Johnston said.
While Johnston still participates in curling and bowling, he is now more focused on representing Special Olympics in his community and educating other athletes. He is committed to developing his ability to do this through SOBC Athlete Leadership programs.
Johnston said one of his greatest achievements with SOBC is completing the Athlete Speakers Bureau 1 and 2 courses, where he learned about public speaking and raising awareness and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Johnston says he really enjoys public speaking and wants to make sure SOBC athletes are welcomed and acknowledged for their skills and abilities.
“You are representing your athletes and your region and you are educating people about Special Olympics, because a lot of people don’t know about Special Olympics,” Johnston said.
Johnston currently gives speeches to local businesses on diversity. He said he always feels welcome when he delivers the speeches.
“The experience is really good. They treat me with respect and dignity,” Johnston said.
Johnston has also completed training through SOBC to become a certified Sun Safety Health Hero. In this role, Johnston works to educate fellow athletes on how to stay safe and healthy while leading an active life outdoors. He also gives out items such as sunscreen, water bottles, and lip balm at SOBC events. Johnston said the SOBC athletes he has talked to have been very happy to learn about sun safety from him.
Johnston looks forward to completing more SOBC Athlete Leadership courses, being a mentor for other SOBC athletes, and continuing to give presentations on Special Olympics. His goal is to represent athletes in his community as Athlete Representative on SOBC – Dawson Creek’s Executive Committee.