Coaching Association of Canada

Deborah Carter - Special Olympics

Leaving a Legacy

The LA2015 Special Olympics World Games provided coaches with the opportunity to learn and gain experience from an event whose mandate, transforms lives through the joy of sport, goes beyond that of simply hosting multi-sport competitions. Deborah Carter, a Special Olympics athletics coach and 2015 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award recipient, shares some lessons learnt on, and off the track.

We need to think beyond the sport event itself and plan a legacy to affect change in the lives of the people and athletes involved. If you do things right, the people around you, including your competitors, will be getting in line to help your legacy be one you can be proud of. We should work together to make the world a better, more respectful place where we are tolerant of one another and of the challenges each of us faces. For me, sport is a platform to educate people from all walks of life.

To do this, instill in your team a desire to be the best they can be, knowing they are as prepared as possible. Athletes are the face of sport, and its leaders, and they need to be able to enjoy and celebrate the games and be excited for them.  Ensure they work hard to be better than they have ever been before; feel fortunate to be a part of instilling that work ethic and team culture – it goes beyond the field of play and allows your athletes to come together as a team and show the world the product of unity, teamwork, and inclusion.

Each person can do their part to make the world better for themselves and others around them. I saw athletes helping athletes. I saw the public realizing that first impressions aren’t always the final impression.  I saw the world change for a brief moment and see that what a person can’t do shouldn’t interfere with what they can do. This impact, the legacy of sport, is what we must empower ourselves and our athletes to deliver, regardless of the outcome on the field of play.