Spirit of Sport Award

The Spirit of Sport Award is presented annually to a male or female Special Olympics BC athlete who exemplifies the true meaning of sportsmanship.

The Special Olympics Athlete's Oath states, 'Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.' This athlete lives by our athlete's oath and is an inspiration to fellow athletes and coaches. This athlete shows dedication, enthusiasm and always gives their best effort.

2019 Spirit of Sport Award winner: Pauline Shaw

Special Olympics BC Spirit of Sport Award winner 2019
2019 Spirit of Sport Award winner Pauline Shaw (left) with her figure skating coach Kailee Bowman.

Known for her tireless and gracious sportsmanship, positivity, and dedication to encouraging others, Special Olympics BC – Victoria athlete Pauline Shaw is this year’s deserving winner of the SOBC Spirit of Sport Award!

Shaw is a longtime athlete with an inspiring passion for her sports and for supporting her fellow athletes. As a dedicated figure skater and a kind and caring person, Shaw has shown incredible mentorship to other athletes both in the SOBC – Victoria program and province-wide. She goes above and beyond to support other athletes with words of encouragement and insights, and joyfully celebrates others’ successes as if they were her own.

“This past winter season in the figure skating program, Pauline stepped up to take on a mentorship role to our new figure skating athletes and made it her personal mission to share her love of the sport and to pass on what Special Olympics has given her,” her nominators wrote. “At every practice, Pauline would make sure that complimented or congratulated a skater on their achievements or offer words of encouragement if something was not going their way. She always made sure that the other athletes felt good about themselves even on the tough days.

“Pauline would offer tips and always say that it’s OK if you fall, but you can always get up and try again, and that skating is all about having fun and not just about the medals but about how you feel when you are on the ice. Pauline found fun in supporting every skater’s goals at competition as well.

“At our Provincial Winter Games this year, Pauline made a point to watch and cheer on every skater from the boards. She wanted to make sure that every athlete had her support (even the ones she was competing against). After each skater finished their event(s), Pauline would walk up to them and congratulate them on a great skate and tailor a specific comment to each athlete.”

In all her sports, Shaw has persevered despite physical setbacks, employing her inspiring positivity and dedication. And she always strives to include every athlete and ensure they are having as much fun as she is.

“Despite her inability to feel the right side of her body, she is consistently brave in the face of adversity and attempts each skate like the gold medal should be hers. Although, she truly feels that she skates because she loves it and it is her happy place and ‘home,’” her nominators wrote.

Shaw has been involved with Special Olympics for 37 years, and has been a registered SOBC – Victoria athlete since 1999, participating in various sports and tirelessly volunteering for local and provincial events raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics. In addition to figure skating, she currently participates in athletics and bocce.

Thank you, Pauline, for supporting and inspiring so many members of the Special Olympics family!

SOBC salutes this year’s deserving President’s Award nominees

  • James Bergen, SOBC – Kelowna 
  • Dan Catarig, SOBC – Mission 
  • Carmel Hashemi-Dahaj, SOBC – Surrey 
  • Richard Morgan, SOBC – Port Alberni
  • Tanya Norman, SOBC – Powell River
  • Kendall Salanski, SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook
  • Mathew Schmiing, SOBC – Vancouver 
  • Terina Sessa, SOBC – Revelstoke

Past Spirit of Sport Award recipients: