JACKSON, Wyo. — Isabella “Izzy” Shanor is currently representing Wyoming in the Special Olympics USA Games 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
Shanor, a 22-year-old from Jackson, is competing in the Athletics category, which has 36 track-and-field events. Shanor will run in three events, the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter races. So far she has finished 7th in the 100-meter and 7th in the 400-meter, with her final 200-meter race happening today, June 10.
Held June 5 to 12, the Special Olympics USA Games hosts more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean, with 19 sports ranging from golf and open-water swimming to stand-up paddleboarding and the triathlon.
Shanor has competed in the Wyoming Special Olympics since she was 6 years old, but this is her first time competing in the national games. To qualify, she went to the Special Olympics camp in Casper this spring, then focused on developing her independent-living skills.
“She had to do work in terms of getting ready, getting dressed in the morning, brushing her hair—all the things that make us human beings,” said older brother, Luke Dakota Zender, who is in Orlando with their mom, Lori Shanor, to support his sister for the week-long sporting event. After graduating high school, Shanor became involved with Community Entry Services (CES), an organization that helps people with disabilities lead independent and productive lives. In the weeks leading up to the Florida event, Shanor visited CES daily to train by running, walking and playing basketball for the Teton Timberwolves.
“It feels great to see Izzy competing,” says Dan Hundere, the residential coordinator for CES. “We see ourselves as a family, so a success by one of us is a success for all of us.” Hundere, who helps coach the Timberwolves, calls Shanor a multi-sport athlete who is fun to have on the court. “She always brings a ton of positive energy, tries her hardest and encourages others.”
According to Zender, she’s bringing that same passion to Orlando. “Every time we see her, she’s smiling from ear to ear,” he says. While he surmises that she’ll most likely want to compete in future national events, she’s focusing on the immediate future. After the games are over, she’s going to Disney World.