Special Olympic Gold Medalist Adam Hays Interview

Marleen Van Den Neste

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Adam Hays.  I am 33 years old and live in Frederick, Maryland!  I am an active member of the Charity Miles community, using the app almost everyday, walking or riding my bike everywhere since 2014.  I am also a Special Olympics athlete!  I have been competing in Special Olympics for 21 years and compete in 5 sports throughout the year.  Though, you can see me ride my bike nearly all year long. I ride 1,200 miles a year on my bike all over town as I train! It even has earned me the chance to go the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and earn 2 Gold Medals in Cycling (5K & 10K).  I have an intellectual disability, due to a condition known as Hydrocephalus or “Water on the Brain,” but I do not let that or the 34 major brain surgeries I have had through my life, stop me from breaking barriers, achieving life goals; like graduating College, earning my Eagle Scout, or living in my own apartment, and over all, loving life like everyone else!


What is your Olympic event?

I compete in Downhill Skiing, Basketball, Swimming, and my favorite sports Cycling and Soccer.


When did you first start training as a Special Olympics Athlete and why?

I began training when I was 11.  I learned of Special Olympics through a friend who was involved in the organization, in my class.  That’s where I learned of the game of Soccer. I wanted to also make new friends that, just like me, did not let their disability define who and what they were…being kids.  Today, they call me “The Intimidator” because of my size and how I charge at the ball every time I defend, as a Full back for my team.


What does it feel like in the moments before you step up for your event?

When I get ready for any of my races or games, I clear my head and concentrate on how I will get out there, play, ride, swim, or ski my best. I am always concentrating and looking toward the finish line, but I smile and talk with all my fellow competitors because I remember the Special Olympics Athlete Oath:

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”


What message would you like to tell our audience?

Remember that every mile you walk or walk as a Charity Miles member impacts the charity you select.  When you select organizations like Special Olympics, you make a difference and give a chance to better the lives of individuals like me.  I use the app because I love to give back to an organization that means the world to me, but even more importantly, Charity Miles helps me push myself as I try to raise as much funds as I can. I find it fun and make it a habit to use the app every time I go out. I hope that you share it with those you know because it is as simple as pressing a button to change the world when you go out and exercise!

Isn’t Adam amazing?! Let’s show him our support as a community and dedicate our miles to his cause, Special Olympics. 


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