Each season, two athletes are selected among the seven states in the Big 12 footprint for their outstanding participation in and advocation of Special Olympics. Chaffin and Nutt will travel to Arlington, Texas for the 2009 Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship at Cowboys Stadium to receive commemorative rings in an on-field presentation during the championship contest.
Chaffin has participated in Special Olympics Kansas for 24 years. His initial introduction was at age 8, by participating in soccer. Through his time in Special Olympics, he has competed in soccer, softball, volleyball, basketball, bowling, alpine skiing and swimming.
Swimming was the sport in which he excelled. Because of his training in Special Olympics, he swam and lettered for his varsity high school team (Shawnee Mission North). In the 1995 Summer Special Olympics World Games, Chaffin brought home three gold medals and one bronze medal in aquatic events.
Due to his experiences in Special Olympics Kansas, Chaffin developed a very independent and self-supportive lifestyle. Both his physical ability and the experience learned through participation in Special Olympics taught him the importance of being a team member.
Chaffin resides in his own apartment, which is often a gathering place for his Special Olympics teammates. He is a Global Messenger for Special Olympics and has spoken to many audiences and groups about the importance of the program to persons with intellectual disabilities.
Nutt is part of Special Olympics Oklahoma, competing in bowling, volleyball skills, basketball skills and bocce.
She came to NORCE (Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid) while very ill and confined to a wheelchair. Nutt has since regained her strength, health and the ability to walk. Special Olympics has enriched her life tremendously. Socializing with others has increased her social skills, while teaching her to be a team player and become an advocate of sportsmanship. Nutt’s determination has enabled her to participate in Special Olympics with her peers for two years. She enjoys assisting and encouraging other athletes during training and competition.