Oana Warren of Versailles has been named the Special Olympics Kentucky 2011 athlete of the year. The award was presented Jan. 14 at the organization's State Leadership Conference in Lexington. The award recognizes an athlete who exemplifies the spirit of Special Olympics by demonstrating skill, positive sportsmanship and courage.
Oana has been a Special Olympics Kentucky athlete since moving to the state in 2008. She competes in cheerleading and artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. Before moving to Kentucky, Oana competed in Special Olympics in Pennsylvania, participating in golf, aquatics, equestrian and soccer. She won a gold medal in golf for Pennsylvania at the 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa.
Oana has won numerous gold medals in state competitions, including the uneven bars at the 2011 Special Olympics Kentucky State Artistic Gymnastics Competition in November. At that competition, Oana also won a silver medal in the all-around. She is a co-captain for her Showcats cheerleading squad and was recognized as an Athletic Achievement Award winner by the Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children.
Oana was nominated for the award by coach Mary Fehrenbach, who was recently named the Special Olympics North America coach of the year for 2011.
In addition to her competitive activities in Special Olympics, Oana has been involved in fund-raising for the organization. In February 2011, she was named Queen of the Lexington Polar Plunge as the event's top fund-raiser. She raised nearly $6,000 for the event.
Outside of Special Olympics, Oana is active at Woodford County High School, where she is a senior. She is a varsity cheerleader and soccer player for the Yellow Jackets. She also participates in choir, and she is a member of the school's media team and Future Farmers of America. She is an Honor Roll student and received an Academic Achievement Award from the school.