Athlete Spotlight: Henry Meece

What has Henry Meece, Special Olympics Oregon athlete and five time X-Games medalist been up to during COVID?


Just like everyone else, our world became smaller in mid-March due to covid-19. Henry’s employment stopped, community inclusion programs stopped operating, dragon boating season was over before it started, Saturday night skate night at Oaks Park ceased and Special Olympics Oregon sign-ups and fun events were nowhere to be found on our horizon. Trying to stay engaged and in touch with family and friends was challenging especially in the beginning before we started establishing our new routine.


Our new routine included lots of walking, birdwatching and hiking. We started walking 3 times a day, a few miles each walk. We explored almost all of the metro green spaces which have remained open during the pandemic. We hiked all our favorite ski runs on Mt. Hood and hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail from Timberline to Paradise Park. It was so much fun we did it twice. Henry loves forest park and we hiked most of those trails this summer. It’s close by and you can choose any distance and hike as much or as little as you want. We started keeping track of our mileage— we’ve walked 1282 miles so far. We practiced Tai Chi on a closed street. We can still kayak so we paddled in new water and skating happened too— only 4 nights, but it was outside and with a live DJ so it seemed special. And then… one of Henry’s jobs came back… and then Fall Virtual Games sports sign up… So now we have a horizon!


We still can’t get together with friends, but we can see grandparents in their backyard in our masks and now we can connect with some groups via zoom. It’s really not the same but we can connect on some level and at least feel like we are moving forward and establishing some kind of new normal. One of the biggest changes in our lives is that there are no casual conversations in the community. We go about our outdoor activities masked, avoiding socialization and we miss being able to strike up unplanned conversations.


Henry has participated in SOOR Active since the first week and it’s no surprise that the Thursday dances and the Tuesday social hour are his favorite events. Those of you who know Henry know that he lives for the dance at the state competitions. He’s looking forward to participating in the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Virtual Games Fitness Challenge and athletics events


– Nancy Newell (Henry Meece’s Mom)