Special Olympics


Special Olympics are serious fun for Stevensville athlete Chris Zier

Chris Zier
Posted at 1:12 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 15:39:26-04

MISSOULA and STEVENSVILLE — You can’t miss Chris Zier at the Missoula Diamondbacks golf practice.

He's the one celebrating his teammates' made putts or joking with coaches. Chris, who lives in Stevensville, has been a Special Olympics athlete for some 30 years, but to hear him say it, it isn’t just fun and games.

“Be serious," he says of his approach to the Special Olympics Games, "... all the time.”

But some coaxing from his mom brings out the truth.

“Yeah, have fun," he says, and then adds, "and be serious, too.”

Whether it’s downhill skiing — his favorite sport — or golf, Chris brings an infectious energy to the Games.

“I've had actually a couple people say, has he ever met somebody he doesn't like or who doesn't like him?" says Candy Zier, Chris' mom. "And it's like, nope.”

“I have too many friends," Chris says.

It’s easy to see why. Chris makes immediate connections with just about everyone. And he’s very active in the Special Olympics community.

He’s been an athlete ambassador, and he sponsors a hole at the Hackers Golf Tournament in Hamilton each summer.

“The teams bet on whoever gets closer to the hole," he explains. "If it rolls off, you donated.”

Chris handles the money on the betting hole, and he earns his own working at Living River Farms in the Bitterroot Valley. He’s also involved with Stevensville American Legion Post 94 and carries the flag in the honor guard.

“We go to town and everybody is like, oh, there's Chris, and they'll get their backs cracked because he hugs them so hard and picks them up," Candy says.

As for this year’s Summer Games, Chris will compete in golf and track and field.

“We do not limit him. You know, if he thinks he can do it, try," Candy says. "He gets enjoyment over participating and doing things.”

And Chris has a straightforward goal.

“I try to beat everyone. Not beat, beat," Chris says, mimicking punches.

Like he said, Chris is serious … all the time.