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Highlights Archives

Overcoming Adversity: Cindy Bentley's Story


Cindy Bentley

"Cindy Bentley: Spirit of a Champion" celebrates the life of one of Wisconsin's most inspirational leaders and activists. Born with an intellectual disability as the result of fetal alcohol syndrome, Cindy Bentley spent much of her childhood at the Southern Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled. No one expected her to learn the skills necessary to live on her own. To everyone's surprise — including her own — she did that and much more.

A Deep Passion for Sports

With the encouragement of a teacher at center, Cindy realized she had a deep passion for sports — and the discipline to train and compete. She began participating in Special Olympics and gained confidence as she worked with teammates to earn medals in tennis, track and field, and snowshoeing. Chosen as a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics International in 2000, Cindy has had dinner at the White House with two different American presidents, traveled around the world, and given speeches in front of thousands of people.

In these pages, young readers will learn what gives Cindy her championship spirit — and why she gave away some of her gold medals. Today Cindy still competes in Special Olympics. She also continues to advocate for people with disabilities, and helped to start People First, a statewide organization that encourages those with disabilities to speak up for their rights.

"Cindy Bentley: Spirit of a Champion" is the newest addition to the Badger Biographies series for young readers.

Related Events


Both events are co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and Special Olympics of Wisconsin.

:: Posted July 22, 2010

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