“SPIRIT OF SPECIAL OLYMPICS” Athlete of the Year 2016 – Philip Baker
Special Olympics Indiana is pleased to announce Philip Baker as the 2016 “Spirit of Special Olympics” Athlete of the Year. Philip is a proud athlete from our Washington Township Program in Indianapolis.
Philip, known as Phil to his family and close friends, is 29 years old and has been involved in Special Olympics since 1998. At that time he was a 7th grader at Northview Middle School, and he was introduced to ice skating and loved it. He continued to participate while he was a student at North Central High School.
Like many athletes, Phil was ready to try other sports. Soon he was competing in swimming, bowling, and basketball. Since that time, he bowls in Area and State Competitions, competes in track & field, long distance run & walk, soccer, corn toss, bocce and snowshoeing. Phil hosts bocce and corn toss practice at his home.
His favorite sport is swimming. Phil competes in the freestyle and backstroke events. Not surprisingly his favorite coach is Jason Broderick. Coach Broderick states, “Phil just loves to swim, mostly with others, instead of by himself. One thing I love about him is that if you tell him to swim a certain stroke, and he just doesn’t feel like it that day, Phil won’t argue with you. He’ll just go ahead and do his own thing!”
On a national level, Phil has participated in Special Olympics North America’s national bowling invitational in Las Vegas, where he won a gold medal with his Unified partner, Scott Purucker.
Phil’s real area of expertise is fundraising, which began in 2005 with the Polar Plunge. Over the past 12 years, he has plunged 19 times and raised over $85,000. For the past six years, Phil has been a member of the Polar Plunge “Super Plunger” program.
Congratulations to Philip Baker, our 2016 “Spirit of Special Olympics” Athlete of the Year.