Shelton residents to take part in USA Games bowling event

Allyson Portnoy of Shelton was told by doctors that she wouldn’t be able to do what she tried. But after 20 years as a Special Olympian, she’s proving that they were wrong.

From June 14 to 21, Ally and coach Scott Goldin of Shelton will travel to New Jersey to compete in the bowling events.

The Special Olympics USA Games take place every four years and this year will draw close to 3,500 athletes from across the country to compete.

Claire Portnoy, Allyson’s mother, said Ally considers the best thing about being in Special Olympics “is that she loves the socialization, being showered with attention from all the visitors to the events, and being able to see and do things she may otherwise not be able to attend.”

Has received many medals

Receiving an invitation to the games is Allyson’s proudest Special Olympics moment to date, she said. She has participated in Special Olympics for more than two decades, and bowled locally prior to that.

During her time with Special Olympics, she has also trained and competed in track and field and swimming, for which she has received many medals through the years.

Allyson said she enjoys having the opportunity to be socially integrated and meet new people.

“Mostly she feels that her bowling coach, Scott Goldin, has become a real friend with all of the nice things he does for her and the rest of the bowling team,” Claire Portnoy said.

“Scott helped Allyson choose her new bowling ball and made sure it was perfect for her,” Claire Portnoy said.

Giving back

Goldin is the coach of the 2014 Winter Games-bound Special Olympics Connecticut bowling team. He became involved with Special Olympics at the suggestion of his roommate in 2005.

The only motivation necessary is how much he enjoys his weekly Saturday practices and the competitions, he said.

Not only does he enjoy giving back, but he also likes watching the athletes have fun. He loves creating a personal relationship with the athletes and is inspired by their participation.

Goldin said the proudest moment of his Special Olympics career so far is receiving an award for being an outstanding volunteer during Special Olympics Connecticut’s Hall of Fame Banquet in 2008.

“Special Olympics gives me such a great opportunity to be part of such an amazing group of people,” Goldin said.

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