Committed to enriching the lives of Albertans with an intellectual disability through sport.

Meet our Award Winners

Get to know this years award winners!

Lauren Smythies
Award: Female Coach of the Year

All about Lauren
Three fun facts about Lauren
1.I have been to 4 Continents, 13 Countries and visited 6 Canadian provinces
2.I eat popcorn every Thursday and it became known as “Popcorn Thursday” to the Thursday night swim group
3. I’ve swam with dolphins and sharks!
In her time outside Special Olympics she….
I have always been a student, so I mostly just study. I am just about to finish my Master’s degree so I am looking forward to experiencing life without school!  I love to workout, hike, kayak, ski, and spend time with my friends and family.
We asked Lauren if she could travel to one place in the world and have lunch with anyone, where would she go and who would he have lunch with.Anywhere that my family is would be perfect.  I have lived away from them on and off for 8 years and I always miss them!
If Lauren had to be any animal she would be….

I don’t know if it counts but I would be a dinosaur (t-rex, Brachiosaurus or velociraptor) because they are SO rad.  !

Special Olympics Involvement
Years and areas of service
Since January 2014….so almost 5 years. Swimming, and I have previous coached soccer with a different SO organization (in British Columbia).  I also helped out with the Healthy Athletes screening as physiotherapy student this summer in Nova Scotia and hope to do that more in the future.
We asked how Special Olympics has impacted her life
In a pretty major way.  I always knew I wanted to be a physiotherapist, but once I started working with special olympics I knew that I wanted to work with individuals with special needs for the rest of my life.  I continued coaching while waiting to get into physio school and I met a family through the program and started working for them with their children.  I learned all about pediatric physiotherapy and realized that I could be a physiotherapist that works with children with special needs.  If I hadn’t coached and met this family I don’t know if I would be on the same career path that I am on now.
Her advice for someone new who wanted to become involved with Special Olympics
Get involved!  You will not regret it.  In the grand scheme of things its 1-2 hours of your life every week, and for a lot of the people I have coached with it becomes the best part of every week.
A memorable Special Olympics moment for her
Watching summer nationals in Nova Scotia this summer! It was awesome to see all the athletes succeed.

About this award
Lauren was nominated for this award and chosen by people in her community. She had a few words to say about this…
THANK YOU!  I am so humbled to have been nominated and chosen for this.  The awesome athletes and their families is what keeps me coming back to coach year after year.  Big shout out to all my Advanced competitive swimmers, thanks for making the last two years AMAZING!