Kristie Olson has been part of the Montana Special Olympics for five decades now—competing for the first time as a teenager in the late 80’s.
Now at the age of 51, this Billings woman is a true veteran of the games.
“I never crawled. I didn't learn to crawl until I was two because I had seizures,” says Kristie.
Life may have gotten off to a slow start, but it certainly didn’t stop her-- not by any means.
“I’ve done 800-meter fast walk, the 400-meter fast walk, the frisbee throw, the softball throw, bowling," Olson said.
She even competed in the world games.
“That was just amazing. Amazed me,” she says. “The first one was in 1991 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. I have a jacket, and there were only 44 athletes got to go in Montana, so it was pretty good.”
Along with being a long-time special Olympian, she’s also a long-time employee of Taco Bell on Central Avenue in Billings. She started there in 1991 and proudly says she has worked there longer than anyone else.
“The longest,” she says. “I’ve gone through so many managers in my lifetime.”
Her smile is contagious--- especially when she’s knocking down those pins at the bowling alley.
Kristie is just one of the hundreds of athletes who compete and another example of what makes the games so very special.
The Montana Special Olympics opening ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12 and will be streamed on the group's Facebook page.