Orlando, FL - June 6, 2022 - ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Medals during ESPN’s Special Olympics Executive Unified Challenge during the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Special Olympics honors Carlsbad woman with Eunice Kennedy Shriver Legacy Award

Longtime Carlsbad resident Carolyn Olson was honored for receiving the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Legacy Award at an event held by Special Olympics New Mexico in Albuquerque on Saturday.

The Special Olympics presented 15 Distinguished Service Awards to New Mexico residents who have “not only met but far exceeded the expectations of their role and responsibilities,” said Special Olympics New Mexico Executive Director Randy Mascorella.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Legacy Award, named after the founder of the Special Olympics, is one of the organization’s “highest possible honors,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway in his regular community updates.

Olson is area coordinator for the Special Olympics, responsible for southeastern New Mexico, Janway said.

“She’s also a coach, head of delegation and board member,” the mayor said. “She was honored for her many decades of dedicated service to the Special Olympics. Anyone who has ever worked with Carolyn can tell you about her hard work and dedication, which she also extends to other projects such as community theater and the historical society.”

Janway added that Olson moved to Carlsbad with her husband in 1963, began volunteering with the Red Cross and “hasn’t slowed down since.”

“Along the way, she’s attended three international Special Olympics events and four US games,” Janway said. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have Carolyn serving in Carlsbad, and this award by the Special Olympics was well deserved.”

Here’s the list of Saturday’s award-winners, as published by the Special Olympics of New Mexico.

Athlete Artist of the Year

Smith Weber Sandager

Outstanding Athlete Leader

Shelby Peterson

Coaches of the Year

Robert & Carola Covarrubia

Outstanding Local Program

Special Olympics Bloomfield

Outstanding Family

The Correa Family

Outstanding Unified Champion School

Tricia Grajeda, Rio Rancho Elementary School

Outstanding Volunteer

Geoff Freeze

Outstanding Unified Partner

Richard Wirtemburg

Outstanding Civic Organization

La Cueva Football

Outstanding Business


Outstanding Board Member

Dub Girand

Hall of Fame

Chris Castillo

Hall of Fame

Anita Williams Kelly, In Memoriam

Pursuit of Excellence

Tom Padilla

EKS Legacy Award

Carolyn Olson