2020 Oregon Sports Awards
2020 Oregon Sports Awards Lou Burge Special Olympics Female + Male Athletes of the year announced on NBC Sports Northwest + Rip City Radio
Special Olympics Oregon athletes Debrorah Muno and CJ Billings selected for accomplishments on and off the field of play.
Known as Coach Lou to many athletes, Lou Burge touched countless lives through 19 years of service to Special Olympics. He coached track and field, roller skating, softball, basketball and bowling, and was a Coach of the Year for Special Olympics Oregon. This award goes to the Special Olympics Oregon athletes who have inspired greatness in other athletes, volunteers and the community. This award has been given annually since 2001. 2020 marks the first year that both a male and a female athlete will be awarded in their own separate categories.
Deborah Muno, 30, of Klamath Falls selected as 2020 Oregon Sports Awards Lou Burge Special Olympics Female Athlete of the Year. has trained and competed in various Special Olympics Oregon sports for more than 10 years. She has earned medals and ribbons in basketball, bocce and bowling. Her favorite sport is bowling where she has a career high score of 180. Deb has committed many hours to improving her skills and now also bowls outside of Special Olympics in a traveling league that has taken her to competitions outside of the state. Deb also has a passion for music and even writes her own songs.
Recognized as a hard worker who leads by example and likes to compete, Deb is an inspiration to her fellow athletes and to her coaches. Demonstrating good sportsmanship is very important to her as she explains, “I always encourage my teammates and I also encourage the other teams.”
Watch Deb’s acceptance speech on NBC Sports Northwest
CJ Billings, 24, of Albany selected as the 2020 Oregon Sports Awards Lou Burge Special Olympics Male Athlete of the Year. He is a sports and fitness enthusiast. In his relatively short career, he has already amassed an impressive resume of accomplishments on the courts, on the fields, in the pool and on the snow.
CJ also battles Cystic Fibrosis and works hard to overcome his significant health challenges daily to ensure that he can continue to play the sports he loves. He started his Special Olympics career 4 years ago in the pool to help improve his breathing and lung capacity and has thrived ever since.
CJ’s most notable achievements include earning several swimming medals (including two gold) at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle and being selected to be a member of the Special Olympics Oregon Timbers Unified Sports® soccer team which competed in the 2019 Special Olympics Cascadia Challenge Series vs. the Special Olympics Washington Sounders. CJ currently serves on the Athlete Input Council – a select group of Special Olympics Oregon athlete leaders from around the state.
Watch CJ Billing’s discuss his selection with host Brian Noe on NBC Sports Northwest
About the Oregon Sports Awards
In 1948, the Oregon Sports Writers and Sportscasters’ Association hosted the first-ever Bill Hayward Banquet of Champions. Later, in 1986, the event was rebranded and renamed the Oregonian Banquet of Champions. In 2001, the event became the Oregon Sports Awards, presented by Nike.
The event is an ESPY-style stage production. From 2001 – 2018, it was hosted in the Stanford Theatre at Nike World Headquarters. In 2019 and 2020, the Oregon Sports Awards has partnered with NBC Northwest to reveal award finalists and winners over live television and radio in lieu of the live show, which will return in future years. For more information about the Oregon Sports Awards, go to www.oregonsportsawards.com