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Ottinger named Michigan Inspirational Athlete of the Year

Published 4:10pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

MT. PLEASANT —Tom Ottinger from Cassopolis was named the “2013 Special Olympics Michigan Inspirational Athlete of the Year” recently to a crowd of 6,000 people at the Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.

The announcement was made during closing ceremonies for the 2013 Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games presented by Spartan Stores.

“I am so excited and happy right now!” said Ottinger, who added these inspirational words for his fellow athletes: “Let the fire keep burning inside you.”

Assistant Area Director, Laurie Newton has coached Ottinger for 24 years.

“We live by the oath, it keeps our hope alive and seeing the determination on the athletes’ faces before they compete means everything to me,” said Newton.

Ottinger has been involved with Special Olympics Michigan for nearly 30 years. He is also a longtime Spartan Stores employee, with 20 years of service with Spartan on his resume. He loves everything about Special Olympics and he inspires others by giving it his all in basketball and track by showing the other athletes how much he cares. Ottinger also shows sportsmanship by helping out his competitors by giving them encouragement and tips to better themselves.

Winners of the “Inspirational Athlete” award must exemplify the athlete oath, “Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Ottinger will have the honor of running the last leg of the torn run into Kelly/Shorts Stadium to light the Flame of Hope at the 2014 State Summer Games Opening Ceremonies May 29, 2014. He will also be presented with a Law Enforcement Torch Run jacket at closing ceremonies and become an honorary member of LETR.

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