Francene Scott is a 37-year-old athlete who competes with Special Olympics Alberta-Grande Prairie and was the recipient of the 2018 Athlete Spirit Award.
AN INCIDENT THAT PUT HER IN INTENSIVE CARE FOR SIX MONTHS WAS NOT ENOUGH TO BREAK THE SPIRIT OF GRANDE PRAIRIE’S FRANCENE SCOTT. HAVING TO RELEARN HOW TO WALK AND TALK WERE STEPPING STONES FOR FRANCENE ON HER WAY BACK TO THE POOL. HER JOURNEY TO THE 2017 SUMMER GAMES IN MEDICINE HAT WAS INSPIRING FOR HER TEAMMATES WHO WATCHED FRANCENE SWIM IN FOUR EVENTS – EVEN EARNING PERSONAL BESTS. EVEN THROUGH HER REHABILITATION, FRANCENE WAS ALWAYS POSITIVE AND SUPPORTIVE TOWARDS HER TEAMMATES, ENCOURAGING THEM TO TRY THEIR BEST. SHE IS MOTIVATED TO OVERCOME THIS OBSTACLE AND CONTINUE TO PLAY THE SPORTS SHE LOVES ALL WHILE BEING A ROLE MODEL TO HER PEERS.
– 2018 ATHLETE SPIRIT AWARD
An unbreakable spirit, sportsmanship, and her ability to overcome obstacles are just three examples of how Francene displays the spirit of the Special Olympics movement.
She is known for being a spirited and supportive teammate and Francene told us that the best way to support others, especially teammates, is to always cheer them on and help them when they need it.
“I WAS REALLY SURPRISED TO WIN THE SPIRIT AWARD AND I FELT SO FULL OF JOY TO BE PICKED AMONG SO MANY OTHER DESERVING ATHLETES IN ALBERTA,” SAID FRANCENE. “IT IS AN HONOUR I WILL ALWAYS CHERISH.”
Being positive and giving everyone high-fives – including the officials – is just as important to Francene as any other part of the game.
Francene has had to overcome many obstacles in her life and she has learned how to hold her head up high, regardless of the situation.
Her advice for others going through a difficult time is to “always work hard and keep trying and never give up you can do anything you put your mind to,” adding that, “I try to live the SO Oath in everything I do.”
This inspiring journey with Special Olympics began in 1992 in Trenton, Ontario after Francene signed up to become more active.
She is a multi-sport athlete who competes in swimming, 5-pin bowling, and snowshoeing.
Francene is set to compete in snowshoeing at the 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games on February 8-10 in Calgary.
“I like the competition the most [and] meeting old and new friends,” said Francene. “I hope to do my best and make Team Alberta.”
She is working hard every day to ensure that she is ready to beat her personal best when she puts on the snowshoes in just over a month.
“I am practicing every week and swimming every week to keep in shape and be ready for the games,” said Francene. “My dad, who is the coach, works us hard but makes it fun too.”
Francene is an experienced competitor who also competed at the Special Olympics Canada (SOC) Summer Games in 1998 (Sudbury) and the SOC-Winter Games in Ottawa in 2000 where she won two medals.
These experiences allowed her to meet Dr. Frank Hayden and carry the Newfoundland flag at an Ottawa Senators game.
Special Olympics has had a profound effect on Francene who stated “it has taught me to be proud of myself no matter what I do and to always try and never give up.”
In its 50th year the Special Olympics movement is dedicating themselves to making inclusion a global reality.
Francene stated that inclusion through sport is great and that feeling of being accepted is something everyone should feel always.
“I would say join it is so much fun and everyone treats you as a person you are you and only you,” said Francene.
Over the next five years Francene hopes to improve her personal bests in every sport and to try to return to Nationals.“I LOVE SPECIAL OLYMPICS FOR IT HAS TAUGHT ME TO TRY EVERYTHING I WANT TO DO. IT HAS GIVEN ME [THE] CONFIDENCE TO GO OUT AND TRY TO BE A BETTER PERSON FOR I AM ME.”