When the torch is lit at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi on March 14, Naperville swimmer Grace Seiboldt, 22, will be one of only 16 representatives from Illinois to attend. Grace’s events in the United Arab Emirates include the 100 freestyle, 50 freestyle, and the 100 freestyle relay.
Two weeks after winning several medals at the USA Games in Seattle this past July, Grace’s mother Nancy got the call her daughter was chosen for the Special Olympics USA Swim Team.
“After the shock of this unbelievable invitation, Grace and I were back figuring out her swim practice schedule to get her ready for Dubai,” says Nancy.
That meant more hours at Naperville Waves Masters Swim Club, where Grace swims almost every day. She started the sport at age 5 and has been a Special Olympian since 2006.
She also is a global messenger for the organization, telling her story and speaking on behalf of the agency to corporations, foundations, and schools to promote inclusion and acceptance.
“I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and making new friends in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I’m excited to walk into the stadium for opening ceremonies,” Grace says. “I hope to win gold medals.”
For more information about the 7,500 athletes from 190 countries competing in Special Olympics World Games 2019, visit abudhabi2019.org.
Photo by Jane Donahue/Naperville Sun