The Strength of the Willing Has No Boundaries
By Santilli Diego, 16, and Troiano Alessandro, 18
Scholastic News Online Student Reporters, Italy

June 23—Sebastian Despont, 25, of Switzerland, is participating in the Special Olympics World Summer Games for the first time. He said he is happy to meet so many new people and make so many new friends.

Sebastian likes biking, swimming, skiing, and snowboarding. He is competing in sailing this year. He works as a chef in a home for the elderly. He also lives in a special community with about eight other people.

"I was forced to leave my parents because they travel a lot around the world," he said. "My parents convinced me to go into the community. Because of that, I finally decided to start working to become completely independent."

Although Sebastian has been sailing for years, he only found out about Special Olympics a year ago. He immediately began preparing for the World Games in Ireland.

"Practicing the sailing gives you more confidence with the boat and this helps you to have much more confidence with your life. My life is good!" Sebastian said. "One of my objectives in attending these games is to share this great experience with other people. But I also don't mind to win a medal!"