Latham Centers Adult Resident Wins Silver and Gold in Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece
Posted Jul 07 2011 10:34am
Alexandra “Zanders” Pope, a young adult with Prader-Willi Syndrome, Zanders first took the Silver in the A-1 Equitation category on June 30th, and later snatched the Gold in the Working Trails Run A-1 competition on July 3rd. She was presented with her medals by Timothy Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics. Pope was selected to represent the U.S. in the equestrian division of the Games along with only nine other riders in the country. She resides in West Yarmouth in an adult group home operated by Latham Centers for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
A native of Connecticut, Zanders began riding horses when she was 12 years old. At the time, she refused to participate in Special Olympics and insisted on riding in a regular program. As she grew older, her riding became more limited due to weight gain, a common occurrence with individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome who often face lifelong growth, metabolic and behavioral problems from the disorder. Zanders trained hard and lost significant weight while a Cape resident with Latham Centers—now with two Olympic medals to show for her hard work and discipline, and strong support from family and community. “My favorite thing to do is ride and care for horses. I've done this since I was a little girl. It is my passion in life,” shared Pope, who trains at Diamondsedge Farm in West Barnstable with coach Brenda Tri. The Latham resident loves animals and stays busy volunteering at the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable. The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games closed on July 4 after hosting more than 7,500 athletes from 185 countries across the world.