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Special Olympics bronze medalist Kevin Callaghan shares story, confronts labels

first_imgKevin Callaghan, a bronze medalist in the 5,000-meter race at the 2011 Special Olympics, spoke at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday evening regarding his experiences as an athlete. The event, sponsored by Multicultural Services, served as part of the College’s Disability Awareness Week.Saint Mary’s junior Maryselva Albarran Hernandez commented on the significance of the event, saying although there have been many projects promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, there were very few events surrounding disabilities.“We noticed that there were a lot of projects and events happening that were focused on diversity and inclusion in religion, race, ethnicity and LQBTQ issues, but there was nothing for increasing awareness on disabilities,” she said. “This is a big concern because we do have students with disabilities on our campus and it’s important for them to feel included.” Tags: 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Disability Awareness Week, Kevin Callaghan, Special Olympics Natalie Weber | The Observer Special Olympian and bronze medalist Kevin Callaghan presents at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday in Vander Vennet Theatre. The event was a part of Saint Mary’s inaugural Diversity Awareness Week.Albarran Hernandez said Callaghan is committed to speaking up and helping others who suffer from intellectual disabilities, similar to those he and his brother face.“He wants to be a role model for those who may not have a voice and wants to be their voice,” she said. “He wants to be able to provide the tools for people to voice their concerns and he wants to motivate others to speak up and I love that about him.”Callaghan was diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability, which he said is nothing more than a label. He said that a disability doesn’t always mean disabled. Every person is gifted in their own way, he said, and trying to live life to its fullest with the talents that they have.“I do things like anyone else, just at a slower pace,” he said. “I can drive a car; I live in my own apartment; I am self-sufficient. It wasn’t easy though, I had to work a lot harder to achieve my goals.”Callaghan said he always enjoyed running and competing. Sports have helped him in many ways, he said, by allowing him to make connections, find his passion and make new friends. One of the biggest highlights of running was the opportunity to compete against other athletes who were just like him.“When I was 10 years old, my parents offered me to be a medical guinea pig and the doctors injected my legs with Botox,” he said. “It worked. The medicine caused my muscles to relax and I was able to walk normally. That may sound like a little thing, but when you have special needs, it’s really important to be as normal as you can be. I decided to try out for my high school’s cross-country team, and I had a great coach who didn’t care about what I couldn’t do — he only cared about what I could do. By the time I was a senior, I was the fastest guy on the team and was voted MVP by the end of the season.”Seven years ago, Callaghan, who wore his Olympic medal around his neck, competed in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.“I ran on the same track as Usain Bolt, competed against some of the best Special Olympic athletes in the world and won a bronze medal,” he said.Kevin’s father Jim Callaghan said although it was difficult coming to terms with two of his kids suffering from intellectual disabilities, his greatest goal has always been to make sure his kids were happy. Both of Kevin’s parents became actively involved in the Special Olympics as coaches.“There was an adult special Olympics group, but they didn’t have a kids division,” Jim said. “So, we called the state and said we wanna start a Logan Center kids team. The first year it was only Kevin, the next year it was like, eight kids, and now the program has been running for 20 something years.”Jim said his son is a role model for a number of people and is referred to as ‘the mayor’ by some of his friends because he knows everyone in his town.“It’s not just about me but there are so many stories of people with disabilities,” Kevin said. “I love people and I also have many friends with autism, so I always try to think about how things would affect me if I was in another person’s shoes. If it was up to me, I wish there was a universal healthcare for everybody in the world.”last_img read more

Pienaar set for return at Hull

first_img “We will assess him before Sunday to see whether he can play a part or not. “Darron Gibson (out for the entire season after cruciate ligament surgery) has been working with the team as well. “That is really good timing because he has been able to finish the season strong from his point of view. “I don’t know if Darron will make it in time to be involved with the squad but it is a positive sign nonetheless. “From that point of view it is the same squad that we had for Manchester City, apart from Ryan Ledson, who is going to join the England Under-17s setup at the European Championships where we wish him well.” Press Association A knee problem means the South African has not played since the FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal at the start of March. “Steven has been working with the team and that is very positive,” manager Roberto Martinez told evertontv. center_img Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar is set to return for their final match of the season at Hull on Sunday. last_img read more

USC aims to improve Pac-12 standing in homestand

first_imgAfter two consecutive hard-fought losses at the hands of crosstown rivals UCLA, the Women of Troy will stay at home to host Arizona and Arizona State this weekend. USC currently has a 15-8 record, including 5-7 against Pac-12 opponents while Arizona has a 6-17 record with 2-10 against conference opponents and No. 25 Arizona State has a 17-7 record with an 8-4 conference record. Junior guard Aliyah Mazyck (center) put up a valiant effort against UCLA on Monday, scoring a game-high 21 points on 4-for-11 3-point shooting. Despite her efforts, USC fell to UCLA 70-84, marking two straight losses to the Bruins. Emily Smith | Daily Trojan“Our mindset is great,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “We started out 0-3 and we went to 3-3, we lost two games and then we won two games, so I think the goal is to make .500 in the Pac-12 and go to the postseason tournament. I trust these kids. I’m very, very excited by what they’ve shown me this year.”Arizona State will come to the Galen Center first on Friday night. The Sun Devils have powered to a strong  start despite losing one of their key players, guard Sabrina Haines to an ACL injury in December, due to the team’s balance and depth. Junior Kianna Ibis leads the Sun Devils with 13 points per game on efficient shooting percentages of 50 percent shooting, 41.9 percent from downtown and 80 percent from the line. Guards Courtney Ekmark and Robbi Ryan and forward Jamie Ruden shore up the scoring with averages of 10.1, 9.5 and 10.0, respectively, and all three players are capable shooters from deep. Center Charnea Johnson-Chapman leads the team in rebounding with 7.2 per game. With such balanced team members who know their roles and contribute equally, Arizona State poses a challenge for any team to play. “They play a very aggressive defense,” Trakh said. “They like to come out and pressure so we gotta handle their pressure and they run their sets really, really well, so we [have to] come out fresh and we have to defend their sets. I think that’s the main things: handle their man-to-man pressure, they’ll play 10 people, they’ll rotate every couple minutes so they like to keep their kids fresh. We’re not as deep, so that’s going to be where the challenge is going to pose in a 40-minute game.”The other Arizona team will come on Sunday afternoon, but compared to the Sun Devils, the Wildcats have struggled this season. The Wildcats are led by guard JaLea Bennett with 14.6 points per game and Sam Thomas with 10 points and 7.8 rebounds. Guard Lucia Alonso and forward Kat Wright are both capable shooters, with Alonso notably averaging 42.7 percent from deep. However, the Wildcats are terribly inefficient as a team with 36.6 percent shooting overall, including 33.0 percent from 3-point range. The Wildcats are also similar to the Trojans in rebounding averages which could be a key focus in the matchup as the Wildcats will pit Thomas and forward Destiny Graham (6.6 rebounds per game) against Trojans senior forward Kristen Simon. However, USC should look to pick up a win on Sunday against the struggling Wildcats. “They just fight, in a year where they got a really great recruiting class coming in next year so I think they’re just loose and they’re playing hard and they’re well coached, so I think it’s a question of focus because they’re so capable of beating anyone in the conference,” Trakh said. Despite two losses against UCLA, the Trojans competed well in the two games and they hope that energy and effort will carry over into this weekend’s matchups. They were down early in both game, but USC fought back valiantly, cutting double-digit deficits to a fighting chance in both games before UCLA built their lead back up. The team’s relentless effort to climb back within distance of UCLA warranted praise from the Trojans’ head coach. “They played the No. 9 team in the country with probably the best point guard in the country and I felt the kids played a competitive game,” Trakh said. “It was an 8-point game in the fourth quarter at their place and it was a 1-point deficit with four minutes remaining at our place. Everybody we play, it’s been a competitive game and it’s a game where we had a chance to win it in the fourth quarter so I like that competitive spirit the kids have. They won’t give up, they’ll never think they’re out of the game.”USC’s defense has been stifling so far this season as their zone defense has dramatically altered the pace of the game to be much slower, something that UCLA coach Cori Close admitted to be a factor in hampering UCLA’s high-pace offense. Another key pointer to watch for will be foul trouble as USC’s starters were peppered with fouls in its slugfest against UCLA, forcing Trakh to play the reserves while keeping its starters glued to the bench. As USC does not boast a deep bench, it has relied on heavy minutes from the starters for most, if not all, of their production on a nightly basis and the starters will have to be careful on the defensive end to avoid foul troubles.“All year we’ve stayed out of foul trouble,” Trakh said. “So we gotta get back to basics: not fouling. We can’t afford to foul because of our lack of depth so we can’t foul. Our defense has been good at times and it’s also been suspect at times but it’s been good more than it’s been suspect. We just gotta regroup and get ready for the game.”USC hosts Arizona State on Friday at 7 p.m. before playing Arizona on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games can be streamed through USC’s live stream which can be found on the Pac-12 Network site.last_img read more