Dr. Frank Hayden is the Canadian founder of the Special Olympics movement. As a university professor his premise was that the fitness level of persons with an intellectual challenge was controlled by sport opportunity and participation.
Local Special Olympian, Wayne Morton, was honoured twice this Fall in Toronto; once provincially and then nationally. He has been recognized for his long-time involvement in the sports and organization of Special Olympics. Wayne began his 38-year sport journey at the age of 12; in the swimming pool. He took to swimming literally “like a duck to water”. At 6 foot 2 inches and 145 pounds Wayne has a natural swimmers’ physique. Lots of hard work and training led him to many provincial, national and 4 World Games competitions. Wayne earned medals at all these events and sets some records along the way.
But he did not stop with swimming. Wayne has competed in 11 different Special Olympics sports; competing provincially in curling, basketball, track and field, figure skating and power lifting. Wayne is definitely an ‘all round’ athlete.
But these two awards are not just about athletic prowess. Wayne’s dedication to his sport is complemented by his leadership, assisting with new athletes, involvement in fundraisers and serving on his local Special Olympics community council. He is a team player who always exhibits the highest level of sportsmanship and respect for his fellow athletes, coaches, competitors and games officials.
Wayne was nominated locally for and won the Special Olympics provincial Frank Hayden Lifetime Achievement Award. With this honour he was then nominated and was awarded the national award as well.
He enjoyed the two trips to Toronto to receive these awards. Though very nervous, Wayne gave an excellent acceptance speech. He was thrilled to meet Dr. Frank Hayden at both events. The national awards night was a ‘star studded’ affair where Wayne was able to get a photo with his curling idols Jennifer Jones and Brent Lang. The event host was TSNs Vic Rauter and some of the award presenters were ice dance Olympians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympic gymnast Kyle Shewfelt, Olympics swimmer Mark Tewksbury and Olympic paddler Marnie McBean. It was an evening that Wayne will never forget.