Queens Special Olympics Athlete Qualifies For USA 2022 Games – Spectrum News NY1

Kathleen Maggi calls herself the princess of the backstroke. According to Maggi, nothing gets in the way of her love for the pool.  

“Basically I’ve been in the pool all my life. It just makes me feel good, like, I just loved the water from when I was a baby,” Maggi said.  

What You Need To Know The Special Olympics were canceled this year due to the pandemic. Kathleen Maggi stayed in shape and qualified for the USA games in 2022

Kathleen Maggi competes in the 20 lap distance race, but looks forward to the day she can compete in the 30 lap race like USA gold medalist Katie Ledecky

Maggi also uses the confidence gained from her athleticism to speak up and advocate for her community She’s a fierce competitor with the Special Olympics. Although the games were canceled this year due to the pandemic, Kathleen managed to stay in shape and qualified for the USA games next year. 

“I train every day in the other pool until I get tired,” Maggi said.   

Over the summer she watched one of her favorites and fellow backstroke athlete Katie Ledecky compete and win gold in Tokyo. She’s inspired to do the same race one day. 

“A lot of male swimmers do long distance in the regular Olympics, none of the females do so this is the first time that she did 30 laps,” Maggi explained. “My goal is to do exactly what she’s doing, 30 laps.”

And she’s well on her way, she’s already winning her own medals swimming 20 laps. “I like the gold medals that I get. If I don’t get a gold medal its fine but usually I’m always a gold medalist,” said Maggi. 

Kathleen credits the Special Olympics for not only giving her this outlet to compete, but also spaces to meet friends and interact with others that have intellectual or physical disabilities like she does. 

“I got my friends over there, we’re playing bocci tonight,” said Maggi with friends at a local park where they gather weekly.

For Kathleen, she uses the confidence gained from her athleticism to speak up and advocate for her community.

“I advocate for people who don’t advocate for themselves,” Maggi said. “My greatest lesson is to be myself. That’s what Special Olympics is all about. It’s about sports and being yourself around your friends,” she added.