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Special Olympian gets the surprise of her life on her 60th birthday

Beth Meyer learned today that she will be competing at the Special Olympics USA Games next year.
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - This is a day a local woman will never forget. Beth Meyer celebrated 60 years around the sun Monday, and a lot of people came out to mark the milestone. But it’s what happened next that made this day so special for Beth.

“I was speechless at first, I just couldn’t hardly believe it,” she says.

Beth was one of the first residents at Bittersweet Farms, an organization that provides housing and programs for adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum. An avid swimmer, Beth has won multiple medals at statewide Special Olympics meets. Now, it’s on to a national stage.

What she thought was just a birthday celebration turned into a celebration of her accomplishments as a swimmer too. Steve Mentrek is the Day Program Director at Bittersweet Farms.

“It brings tears to your eyes. She had no clue what was happening, and that was the most amazing part. She had no idea the Special Olympics was going to award her this opportunity today.”

Beth has been chosen to represent Ohio at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando next June.

“Even if I don’t win, I’m going to be brave in my attempt of trying, that’s for sure,” she says.

“Beth is such a hard-working athlete,” says Kelley Watson, Lucas County Special Olympics Coordinator. She says Beth competes in everything from freestyle to breaststroke and backstroke. “She gives 100% to everything, so I knew this would be overwhelming to her. It was so wonderful to see this happen.”

While there is still a lot of excitement about today’s announcement, Beth says her focus now is bringing back the gold medal to Ohio.

“I’m glad I’m going when I still have some oomph left in me to try to win the gold medal,” she says. “I am hoping I can come out on top of the podium on this.”

Although everyone here today won’t be able to with her in Orlando next year, Steve says Beth will have a lot of people cheering her on from home.

“This is such a special day. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see someone achieve their dreams,” says Kelley. “And to be part of it, it makes you tear up because it comes from the heart. We all just want her to excel and achieve just like everyone who is part of Bittersweet Farms.”

And long after learning about her trip to the USA Games, Beth still had to pinch herself.

“This is my 60th birthday, and I got this amazing gift,” says Beth. “It’s the best gift ever! I can’t believe this.”

Beth begins her training for the national competition right away. In addition to the pool time she’ll be putting in here at home, Beth will attend special training sessions in Columbus and Cincinnati in the months ahead.

She competes in Orlando next June.

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