COMBERMERE – Special Olympics Canada celebrates 50 years this year, and one local athlete has been with the organization since its beginning.
50 years ago this month, the Special Olympics began in Canada. That same year, athlete Rose Baxter began her association with the games. She began her involvement with the organization by participating in track and field events when she was just 11-and-a-half years old. She has been a rock steady participant, promoter, and ambassador for the games ever since.
The Valley Gazette caught up with Rose and her sister Catherine Baxter at one of Rose’s favourite breakfast places, The Old School Café in Combermere. During the conversation, they recounted several stories of how the Special Olympics had positively impacted Rose and the Baxter family.
At the games Rose initially participated in back in 1969, the crowd cheered her on as she was on pace to take the gold in a sprinting event. Another participant was coming up behind her, on track to finish second; that girl tripped and fell. Rose, in a heroic act of sportsmanship, gave up her first place position to stop and help up the other girl. They crossed the finish line together, dead last.
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