UPDATE: Local Man Wins Gold at Special Olympics

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UPDATE: An update on the 2014 Special Olympics USA games.

You may remember last week Whitney Martin introduced us to volleyball player Troy Fiedler. We're happy to report Friday morning Team Illinois won Gold in volleyball.

Also, Jacob Tillery of Freeport is bringing home Silver and Gold for Swimming. Joanna Coffler got Bronze for the 800 Meter Walk.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A local man has spent the last two decades working for this very moment. Troy Fiedler is on his way to New Jersey, getting ready to compete in his first national Special Olympics competition.

“I couldn’t be prouder, people think with a disability it’s awful and it’s not. It’s all how you look at it.”

It took 29 years for Troy Fiedler to realize he has a disability. That’s because his mother Terry never treated him like he had Down Syndrome, placing him in the average classroom and letting him shine in sports.

That energy has landed him to where he is now, practicing volleyball for what could be the biggest competition of his life. Troy will be one of two from Rockford, representing Illinois in the national Special Olympics in New Jersey, a goal he’s been working towards for 20 years.

“Troy has exceeded everything that every mother could have wanted. He has two jobs, has grown to be a fine young man, he does his sports, he’s a happy man, What more could you want as a mother?” said Troy’s mom Terry.

Troy says this is a big deal for him considering he’s been going at it since he was in elementary school. Nearly 3,500 athletes from across America will be competing and while Troy practices for hours at a time, his mom says he’s been training his entire life.

“The opportunity may never arise again. This is likely a one-time deal but Troy has done this, no one has done this for him, he has done this one on his own.”

As expected, Troy and his team of 10 are hoping to bring back the gold and no matter what they place, his mother says his achievements aren’t measured by his medal count, but instead how far he’s come with a disability he never really knew he had.

Joanna Coffler will also be attending the games for walking. We wish them both the best of luck.

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