Columbus athlete, advocate takes on new role at Special Olympics Ohio

Liz Beu

Elizabeth (Liz) Beu, a six-sport athlete and longtime self-advocate, has joined Special Olympics Ohio as the organization’s first Athlete Leader in the new Unified Champion Schools program in Columbus.

Beu, a Columbus native, said she’s excited about the opportunity and considers it her “dream job” in every way. She’s happy that her love and knowledge of sports will be put to good use, helping students thrive.

Special Olympics Ohio is thrilled to have her, too, as it works to build on existing programs and develop socially inclusive environments for young students in Columbus-area schools.

“Instead of having a traditional Special Olympics-based model, our goal is to bring everybody together,” said Kristi Peters, manager of the Unified Champion Schools program. “We’re incredibly excited to move forward with this project.”

The program aims to help elementary schools bring together typical students and students with developmental disabilities through unified playgrounds, before- and after-school fitness clubs, inclusion assemblies, unified clubs, sports and more.

Beu has an associate degree in sports and fitness management from Columbus State Community College, is a former fitness assistant at the North YMCA and is a statewide Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility) trainer.

She says that training others with disabilities to speak up has changed her life, helping her to be more assertive and less shy.

Beu loves Ohio State football and basketball, outdoor activities and watching ESPN. She’s also crazy about the color blue. Almost everything in her apartment, including the couch, chairs and carpet, is in shades of her favorite color.

“We know she will be an incredible asset to Special Olympics Ohio, and we can’t wait to see the impact she will have on us all,” said Jessica Stewart, President and CEO.