News & Stories

A Lot of Patience


Sometimes, athleticism is an inherited trait. Sometimes, you have a great teacher. Special Olympics USA cycling athlete Sean O’Rourke’s son is blessed with both. Sean has completed the IRONMAN Lake Placid in 14 hours, the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. Of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of becoming a father to his son, named Sean Connor.

“My son is a really good swimmer,” said Sean. “(His) mom coaches him with the running.”

Sean met his wife, Pavla, through one of the first inclusive running clubs in the United States, the Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program. Since, Pavla has coached both her husband and son to be competitive athletes. Becoming an elite athlete takes time, takes patience. According to Sean, becoming a father is no different.

“You have to have a lot of patience to be a father,” he advised.

As tradition goes, the O’Rourke family celebrates Father’s Day with a barbecue. This Father’s Day, Sean is at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, exemplifying the patience, the hard work that made him the athlete he is today. Back home, Sean Connor is cheering for Special Olympics USA, cheering for his dad.