Lake City Woman Named Inspirational Athlete Of The Year At Special Olympics

"She gets involved with all of it. Anything she can, and she’s leading the way."

She’s a Northern Michigan athlete that cannot stop smiling.

Her inspirational story won her an award.

Sylvia Chamberlain’s training for the Special Olympics started when she was just a toddler.

At the 2017 Summer Games in Mount Pleasant two weeks ago, she was named the Inspirational Athlete of the Year.

And she’s still smiling.

9&10 News / Fox 32’s Cody Boyer met Sylvia and has her story.


“I was just so excited for her, and when they called her name and I saw her jump out of that seat and fly up those steps,” says Lori Paradise, Sylvia’s mom. “Like, I haven’t seen her fly up steps in 10 years. It was like she didn’t even touch them."

For mom Lori, pride sums it all up.

Sylvia Chamberlain’s smile has hardly left her face.

“She’s worked so hard and she’s always had the attitude of it didn’t matter if she won or lost, it was just going out there and trying your best,” Paradise says.

“There were over 3,000 athletes there,” Chamberlain says. “Out of everyone, I got the reward."

Sylvia says it began when she was four years old.

Starting in a swimming pool with her twin sister, her resume of sports has only grown.

“We have been in the Special Olympics for 30 years,” Chamberlain says. “Basketball, poly-hockey, swimming, gymnastics, track, snowshoeing, soccer, bocce ball."

“She loves everything about it,” Paradise says. “She does the competing which is tons of fun, but everything else to offer."

Sylvia remembers the moment her name was called over thousands of athletes well.

“My sister knew I was going to get the award when they said how old I was and then they named all the stuff off,” Chamberlain says.

“Her sister was the first person to greet her when she came off the stage,” Paradise says.

From a pool of 23,000 athletes, the award sits on Sylvia’s mantle, reading "Most Inspirational Athlete of the Year,” a message she hopes to carry back to the track for years to come.

“Keep trying. Work hard. Have the right attitude,” Paradise says. “Have fun. Just encourage encouragement and don’t give up."

“Keep doing your best,” Chamberlain says. “I’m going to keep pushing, no matter what."

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