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Ronnie Farrell named Special Olympics athlete of the year

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 12, 2013

Ronnie Farrell began competing in the Special Olympics almost 20 years ago. This week, Special Olympics Texas named him Male Athlete of the Year at its annual Victory Dance and Awards Ceremony.

That’s a big deal, and ranks right up there with the joy of competing in basketball, bowling and bocce ball, Farrell’s favorite events.

“Ronnie is the consummate athlete,” his coach, Hughie Shaw, said in a press release. “He takes great pride in teaching our younger athletes all that he knows, and he does it in a kind-spirited way, which is a joy to watch.”

We could all learn something from watching Farrell, 78.

When he started competing, he was one of just 15 athletes representing Marbridge, a non-profit residential community in southwest Austin for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Today, more than 100 Marbridge residents participate in nine different Special Olympics sports competitions.

And Farrell isn’t finished yet.

“He is far from retiring,” Shaw said.