Meet the Diva Sharks, the all-women’s Special Olympics basketball team. They play any team they are paired up against – and this is how they became the “Divas.”
Wendy Ellet, Senior Manager Sports and Programs for Special Olympics Central Division, explained how it all began.
“Special Olympics had a women’s basketball team when I started in 2003. Three of our female basketball athletes went to World Games Ireland for basketball. The team dissolved for a few years, but as soon as we had 10 female basketball athletes, we brought it back,” said Ellet.
“When we started the team, Scott Norton was the head coach. I wanted to name the team the Diva Sharks and Scott wanted to name them the Land Sharks. I said, ‘I’ll make you a deal, after the first practice, if you don’t think the Diva name fits, we will call them the Land Sharks.’ Next day, Scott emailed me and said ‘Diva Sharks.’”
The women’s teams compete at SOSC (Special Olympics Southern California) Summer Games every other year. Each player of the Diva Sharks will be highlighted in the coming weeks.
Front row, left to right: Stefanie Silvers, Patty Murdock, Tamara Wilson
Back row, left to right: John Austin (coach) Alli Hill, Valerie Middleton (coach), Kayla Livermore, Darci Price, Tiffany Cross, Jean Garong, Lindsay Kautiainen, Scott Norton (head coach)