Wendy2Special Olympics Iowa is excited to introduce its new Director of Athlete Initiatives, Wendy Olinger.

Wendy has been a supporter of Special Olympics for 23 years. She has served as a volunteer and coach in the areas of bowling, basketball, skiing, swimming, track/field, cheerleading, cycling, Challenge Days and golf. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied special education. She also has a master’s degree in deaf education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before coming to SOIA, Olinger worked as a severe and profound special education teacher in Marshalltown, Iowa for 13 years. Olinger has also worked at various day camps and respite camps for individuals with disabilities across the state of Iowa.

As Director of Athlete Initiatives, Olinger will be responsible for Special Programs like Play Days, Challenge Days and Healthy Athletes. She will also be working closely with SOIA Global Messengers, helping them write speeches and be leaders in the community. 

Olinger is excited to join the SOIA staff. “I want to broaden my scope of working with kids and adults from all across the state and encourage individuals to become athletes and participate in any sports that they are capable of participating in,” she says. Olinger’s favorite part about Special Olympics is seeing how passionate athletes are about competing at an event.

Outside of work, Olinger can be found spending time with her 16-year-old daughter, Alexandrea.