Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

2012 Recipient: Billy Peterson

Watching Special Olympics BC – North Shore athlete Billy Peterson work his magic on the basketball court, it’s hard to believe that six years ago doctors suggested he might spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

This tenacious and determined Special Olympics BC – North Shore athlete has proven their predictions wrong by devoting himself to basketball ever since SOBC – North Shore introduced their basketball program in 2006. Billy works hard on and off the court, staying in shape by practicing frequently and running on the treadmill.

Describing a few of the many moments in which Billy has shown his inspirational dedication and never-give-up spirit, coach Zak Klein recalls his performance at the Basketball Regional Qualifier hosted this year by SOBC – North Shore.

“Although he is only five feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds, he never flinched when we asked him to defend against a 6 foot 1 inch, 300-pound opponent,” Zak says. “When Billy lost his shoe in the middle of our game, he continued to play despite the discomfort of his splint. No matter how many times he got knocked down, he sprung back up immediately with a vengeance.”

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” The Athlete’s Oath captures the spirit of the Special Olympics movement, and Billy is one of the inspiring athletes who truly lives and breathes these values.

In nominating Billy for the 2012 SOBC Spirit of Sport Award, his coaches noted the stellar support he offers other athletes, and the amazing environment he creates around him.

“Billy is the first to encourage, assist or congratulate his fellow athletes, always keeping the mood upbeat and positive. Even in the most discouraging times, Billy promotes a spirit of camaraderie and team play, always finding the silver lining no matter how grey the cloud,” they wrote.

“Billy, a true sport lover, has an innate understanding of the sports he plays and uses his excellent communication skills to make sure that all athletes are incorporated into the game, fostering self-esteem and appreciation for everyone involved.”

Billy has been an SOBC athlete for six years, and participates in softball as basketball. He also gives his time as a spare scorekeeper for SOBC – North Shore’s 5-pin bowling program.

His coaches celebrated his natural leadership skills in their nomination, noting that he has received much positive feedback from SOBC – North Shore community partners and is often looked to as a role model.

“Billy proves inspirational to all who encounter him,” they wrote. “Despite the fact that he is only 20 years old, he possesses a maturity that garners the respect of fellow athletes of all ages, coaches and program volunteers.

“What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in spirit.”

Congratulations, Billy!

Special Olympics BC congratulates all of the 2012 nominees for the Spirit of Sport Award:

  • Lauren Hogan, SOBC – Coquitlam
  • Brad LaForce, SOBC – Coquitlam
  • Pauline Shaw, SOBC – Victoria
  • Lori Urban, SOBC – Coquitlam