MEET THE ATHLETES LOS ANGELES & SAN GABRIEL VALLEY

Jennifer Bleidistel
Torrance

Jennifer has been involved in Special Olympics for over 20 years, and participates in many of the sports. For 11 years, she has worked as a teacher’s assistant at the preschool for handicapped children on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills. She enjoys her role as a Global Messenger and has spoke at numerous functions in Torrance, and for many community groups. She is the youngest of six children, with five older brothers.

Kimmy Boyett
Fontana

Kimmy has been a Special Olympic athlete since 2012, and participates in softball and basketball. She is currently attending Chaffey Community College. She also enjoys hanging out with her friends. She's the captain for her cheer team, {Fierce All-Star Cheer}, she is in a bunco group, several social groups, and is an usher at her church.

Kimmy has been involved in many school and community activities throughout her life, including high school marching band, softball team & ASB, 1 1 years Girl Scouts, AYSO soccer, Challenger little league, cheerleading, gymnastics, ballet & tap.

Special Olympics has helped Kimmy make new friends and become more physically fit. She is honored to be a Global Messenger, representing the movement and people with intellectual disabilities.

Terra Clendening
Chino Hills

Terra Clendening is a Special Olympics Southern California Athlete and Global Messenger. Terra started competing with Special Olympics in 2011 and since then she has won many medals in in basketball and bowling, her favorite. Even before becoming a Global Messenger, Terra was well known as one of our best volunteer recruiters, always convincing everyone she met to spend a day volunteering for Special Olympics Southern California. In addition to playing sports, Terra loves to paint landscapes and is currently taking college drawing classes.

Manasa Iyer
Cerritos

Manasa Iyer has been participating in Special Olympics since 2002, and she will be the first to let you know how her involvement has positively changed her life. In 2009 Manasa competed in the Special Olympic World Winter Games held in Idaho and she has never been the same. Witnessing such a large and inspiring event, Manasa came back ready to tell anyone and everyone how great Special Olympics is. In addition to having many friends in Special Olympics, Manasa has won so many medals competing that she can’t even count them. Currently, Manasa is playing soccer in the fall and swimming in the summer.

Logan Jones
Los Angeles

Logan Jones is currently an SOSC athlete in both soccer and basketball, and has also played softball in the past. Logan loves competing with Special Olympics because win or lose, the athletes always have a smile on their face and enjoy the competition. Throughout his experience, Logan has won over 20 gold medals, including 2 golds with his soccer team at the Fall Games.

Logan lives at home with his parents and brother. Outside of SOSC, he loves playing sports games on his PS4, as well as watching Youtube and Dodgers baseball games. His favorite foods include Mexican, BBQ, pizza and cheeseburgers. Logan works in the kitchen at the local Chili’s restaurant and in addition, also has a welding certificate.

Logan’s most proud moments of SOSC include being both the captain and MVP to his undefeated soccer team (arguably the best team in Southern California). Through SOSC, Logan has learned that he doesn’t need to be perfect and can accept himself for who he is.

Jared Kosak

Jared has been an SOSC athlete for 18 years and became a Global Messenger in 2017. Jared has competed in Basketball, Track and Field, Bowling and Golf. For the past 8 years he has worked at Lascari’s Restaurant in Whittier as a Host. Jared is also an actor. He has been in movies and is currently in a Nickelodeon series and in the soap opera, General Hospital. He is also in a Stomp Band with four friends and performs at various functions. Jared volunteers as an usher at the La Mirada Playhouse and also at Meals on Wheels.

Eddie Mack
Los Angeles

Eddie started competing in Special Olympics in 1988. While Eddie has never been afraid to try a new sport, his favorites are track and field, bowling, and swimming.

One of Eddie's proudest moments is competing at the 2003 World Games in Ireland. At the Games, Eddie won gold and silver medals in bowling.

Throughout the years, he has won more than 120 medals, but what matters most to him are the friends and relationships he has made. When he isn’t busy competing, Eddie loves eating lobster, attending Broadway shows, and spending time with friends.

Marco Martinez
Huntington Park

"The Beginning of a Beautiful Thing" ~Marco Martinez

Marco Martinez, a Special Olympics athlete, walked into Abram Friedman Occupational Center in downtown Los Angeles, where he asked if he could take classes in tiling and flooring, and discovered a passion he didn't know he had.

Marco makes signs out of wood, cut tiles, glass beads, and glue for friends and organizations he loves, including a huge sign for Special Olympics Southern California for the chapter office.

Marco often drops into the office to volunteer folding t-shirts, stuffing envelopes, shredding paper -- whatever needs to be done. To him, Special Olympics Southern California is family.

Lucy Meyer
Los Angeles

Lucy Meyer is in the 12th grade at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Born with cerebral palsy as a result of oxygen deprivation for five minutes at birth, Lucy has never let this stop her! For the past five years, Lucy has worked closely with UNICEF USA and Special Olympics to advocate for the welfare and inclusion of children living with disabilities across the globe. She is proud to be a Special Olympics athlete and a global messenger for Special Olympics Southern California. Highlights of Lucy’s work include, traveling to Jamaica, Brazil, Bosnia Herzegovina, Azerbaijan and Switzerland; meeting President Obama (twice!); lobbying legislators on Capitol Hill; presenting at the United Nations; speaking with more than 12,000 students in over 50 schools around the country, serving as a 2015 Special Olympics World Games Global Messenger, and medaling three times in swimming at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Lucy has appeared in online, print and TV publications including, TeenVogue.com, People.com, Bustle.com, NBC 4 LA, and ABC 7 LA. To learn more about Lucy, go to @TeamLucyMeyer on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Richie Patterson

Richie has been an SOSC athlete for 10 years and became a Global Messenger in 2017. He has competed in Basketball, Softball, Track and Field and Bowling. He has won over 56 medals and also likes helping to coach sports. Richie volunteers for the LA County Parks and Recreation dept. He has made many friends through Special Olympics.

Dustin Plunkett
Paramount

Special Olympics Southern California athlete Dustin Plunkett has been active in Special Olympics for more than 19 years. He has thrived as both an athlete and a public speaker, no small task for a young man with a speech impediment and a cleft palate in addition to his intellectual disability.

Dustin has risen to the highest ranks of athlete leadership as an International Global Messenger, where he has had the opportunity to travel the world--China, Alaska, Nebraska, Washington DC--to name a few. One of his fondest memories was sharing the stage with Yao Ming at the World Games in Shanghai. He has also served as an athlete representative and Board Member on the Board of Special Olympics Southern California.

Plunkett relishes each opportunity he can get to reach people and share his own story of success over adversity in order to inspire others to do the same. Special Olympics has empowered him take control of his own life and to break the negative cycle that surrounded his family as he grew up, moving from home to home and family member to family member.

Plunkett has found varying levels of success as an athlete, but there is one aspect of life in which he constantly succeeds—giving back. Plunkett is a coach for young athletes in basic sports skills, the assistant basketball coach for the Lakewood Special Olympics program. He was a member of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Southern California, as well as LA2015, the 2015 World Games Organizing Committee, and a member of the World Games staff as a Games Associate and Uniform Coordinator. During the World Games he served as an ESPN Analyst calling the parade of athletes live on ESPN during opening ceremonies.

Michael Rivera

Michael appreciates his experience with Special Olympics because it has helped him with his handicap and meeting many new people. He took his Global Messenger training in 2017 and has participated in SOSC for 8 years, competing in Track and Field. Michael volunteers at a local park in Whittier and helps coach Basketball for all ages.

Kyla Schilz

Kyla is new to Special Olympics; however is already a great representative for SOSC. She is very excited to try as much as she can, including volunteer opportunities. She competes in Track and Field, running Cross Country.

Krystal Sylvia-McFall
Torrance

Krystal has been a Special Olympics South Bay athlete since 2002. She competes in track and field, basketball, bocce, soccer, and softball. Krystal's favorite moment as a Special Olympics athlete was competing in bocce at the 2003 Special Olympics World Games in Ireland.

Aside from her Special Olympics achievements, Krystal is most proud of her job as an educator for Torrance unified School District and Disneyland.

Special Olympics has taught Krystal to never give up on herself or get discouraged—a trait she surely passes on to the students she teaches. In her free time, Krystal. She also volunteered for Salvation Army Adult Care for several years and enjoys acting as a greeter at restaurants for Special Olympics' Tip-A-Cop fundraisers.

Caley Versfelt
Manhattan Beach

Caley Versfelt lives her life turning disabilities into abilities and spreading acceptance and inclusion. Her motto is, "Never give up and dream big."

Caley’s advocacy work extends over many organizations. She just completed a 3-year term on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Southern California and is a Global Messenger. Additionally, she was a Games Associate with the Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee. Caley is also an International Ambassador for Best Buddies.

In the Easter Seals Disability Film Challenge, Caley has been a production assistant and an actress. Caley also has fun on A&E’s Emmy Award winning show, Born this Way.

As a correspondent, Caley enjoys interviewing celebrities at red carpet events, including the Media Access Awards, Reel Abilities Film Festival and the Special Olympics World Games.

Caley works at the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a socially conscious company which utilizes the collective power of the entertainment industry for major campaigns.

Caley promotes everyone should be valued and is available to speak at events. Her company, Tides of Kindness, promotes "Kindness is contagious."

Jayson Warsuma
Los Angeles

Jayson has been a Special Olympics track athlete since 2011. Through sports, he has made many new friends, including his teammates and coaches. But above all else, sports have given him pride, confidence, and a place where he is accepted. His favorite part of running is hearing the spectators cheer for him.

“No on judges me when I’m running,” said Jayson. “It taught me to face my fears.”

Aside from competing in Special Olympics, Jayson ran the LA Marathon in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with his best time being four hours and eight minutes! Jayson also works as an usher at Century City 15 Movie Theatres and enjoys going to the movies and playing video games. He is also a part of the Marina del Rey running club and completed the 2012 LA Marathon.