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Speed Skater Tommy Shimoda Wins Gold At Special Olympics World Winter Games

By Howard Ludwig | March 23, 2017 1:57pm | Updated on March 28, 2017 11:27am
 Speed skater Tommy Shimoda of Mount Greenwood won a gold medal Thursday in the 500-meter race at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. He also won a bronze medal Tuesday in the 777-medal race.
Speed skater Tommy Shimoda of Mount Greenwood won a gold medal Thursday in the 500-meter race at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. He also won a bronze medal Tuesday in the 777-medal race.
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MOUNT GREENWOOD — Speed skater Tommy Shimoda of Mount Greenwood won a gold medal Thursday in the 500-meter race at the Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Shimoda, 24, also won a bronze medal in the 777-meter event Tuesday at the games in Austria. He is the only Chicago athlete participating in the international games, which feature 32 different Olympic competitions.

"It's great. He's making us proud," said Michael Benavente, Special Olympics administrator for the Chicago Park District.

Benavente said in many Special Olympics events, competitors are separated into different divisions based on their age, gender and ability level. So there are often multiple winners within the same competition.

That's not to take anything away from Shimoda's achievement. In fact, Shimoda has participated in the Mount Greenwood Special Recreation Association since he was 8 years old. The group is based out of the park at 3721 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood.

In total, some 4.2 million of athletes from 170 countries participate in Special Olympics each year.

Shimoda "trains very hard," said Benavente, who added that the gold medalist often practices at the Morgan Park Sports Center.