Loretta Claiborne of York, Pennsylvania, has been active in the Special Olympics movement since 1970. Currently participating in Alpine skiing, basketball, bocce, bowling, figure skating, floor hockey, soccer, tennis and volleyball, she will represent Special Olympics USA in tennis. Loretta serves as the chief inspiration officer and vice chair of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics. Special Olympics has been the greatest positive influence on her life, teaching Loretta to respect herself first and to respect others. She has also learned to receive and to give back to her community.
An accomplished marathon runner, Loretta has completed 26 marathons. In three Special Olympics World Games, she has earned a gold medal. Her achievements have been recognized with three honorary doctorate degrees and the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which was presented to Loretta as part of the ESPY Awards in 1996. Continuing to give back, she knits and donates hats for premature newborns at four different hospitals. She volunteers for many civic organizations and visits local schools to promote Special Olympics. An advocate for herself and countless others with intellectual disabilities, Loretta is most inspired by Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Representing Special Olympics USA in the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 to compete in tennis is a dream come true.