Jonathan Doring of Palm Beach County was named the Special Olympics Florida Athlete of the Year over the weekend at the Special Olympics Florida Gala, held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla.
In his 26 years as a Special Olympics athlete, Doring has filled almost every role possible within Special Olympics, competing in tennis, bowling, swimming, softball and golf. His tennis passion led him to undertake a six-year training that resulted in achieving provisional chair umpire status with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and officiating this year at the Special Olympics World Games.
Doring also helps to shape the Special Olympics experience for others by serving on his local Athlete Input Council, and as a representative at Athlete Congress. In addition to his active lifestyle he has worked as a Publix associate since 1998, is a graduate of Santaluces High School in Palm Beach County, and also received an Associate of Science degree in Computer Technology from Palm Beach State College.
“Special Olympics has taught me to set realistic goals and to work hard to attain them,” said Doring, who earlier this year earned the Presidential Champions Platinum Award “for his outstanding commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle, increasing physical activity and challenging public perceptions about people with intellectual disabilities.”
Doring was nominated and selected by members within the Special Olympics Florida organization.
Founded in 1972, Special Olympics Florida provides sports training, competition, leadership and health programs to children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost. Today, Special Olympics Florida serves more than 26,000 athletes, has nearly 20,000 volunteers and is one of the largest volunteer-driven athletic organizations in the state.
Earlier this year, Special Olympics Florida announced a 65 percent tennis participation increase following a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida, USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Foundation to provide more tennis play opportunities to athletes in Florida, and equipment grants for sites in nine counties.