50 moments: Matt Williams is proof in the power of sport

Special Olympics International photo
Matt Williams takes the stage with his fellow SOI athletes at the White House in 2014. Photo courtesy of Special Olympics International

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics this year, we are taking a look back at the #50moments that have defined the Special Olympics movement here in B.C. and throughout the world.

Special Olympics BC – Langley athlete Matthew Williams is proof in the power of sport and how it transcends outside the playing field.

An accomplished athlete who has competed provincially, nationally, and on the world stage, Williams also used the confidence he gained competing for Special Olympics BC to share his triumphs as an incredible public speaker. His talents didn’t go unnoticed.

In December of 2010, Williams was named as a member of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics International (SOI), the top governing authority for the Special Olympics movement. The move came after he was elected Chair of the Special Olympics Global Athlete Congress in June 2010. Williams was elected to the board alongside world-champion figure skater and American Olympic medallist Michelle Kwan and Elisabeth M. Dykens, director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development and leader in the field of intellectual disabilities. Williams was also appointed a Sargent Shriver Global Messenger that same year.

Williams says Special Olympics has changed his life in so many ways, including the new friendships he has developed and the opportunities it has presented. And his SO training is the highlight of his week."Usually, it's hard for me to wait to go to practice," he told a conference audience in November 2010.

Participating in Special Olympics shows that "even though we have a disability, we can accomplish so many great things," Williams said following his appointment to the Board of Directors.

The SOBC – Langley athlete continues to lead the way as an ambassador for inclusion within the Special Olympics movement. In November of 2015, his TED X Vancouver speech, entitled Special Olympics let me be myself – a champion, demonstrated his ability to connect on a global level. To date, the video has more than 1.1 million views on YouTube.

Williams continues his sit on the Board of Directors for SOI and serves as the Chair of the Global Athlete Congress.

In addition to his role with SOI, Williams continues to play an important role in his home province of British Columbia. He currently sits on the Special Olympics BC Leadership Council, which guides the planning and development of the sport, competition and program development issues of SOBC.

While Williams has made great strides in the boardroom, the SOBC – Langley athlete continues to be a leader between the lines as well. Williams is an accomplished athlete who pushes his athletic boundaries, fully dedicating himself to training and competing at the highest levels. Willilams recently represented Team BC at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia in late July and came home with a silver medal.