FORTUNE, N.L. — Fortune Special Olympic athlete Tony Moores dreamed of coming home from the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games with a gold medal.
His dream came true.
Moores competed in four events at the national games held in Antigonish, N.S. July 31-Aug. 4, bringing home a gold in the standing long jump M4 division and a silver in the 50-metre race.
The 44-year old athlete said the games were awesome and challenging at the same time.
“It was really hot and we had to do our races at night because the track was so soft with all the heat. People were passing out on the track,” he said.
He explained how he felt at the long jump competition.
“I looked over at the other people in the event and thought to myself, ‘I ain’t going to do this.’ They have longer legs than I do, so I thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll do my best,’ and I won the gold.’”
Moores came close to winning a gold in the 50-metre sprint, but had to settle for the silver.
“I wasn’t far from the leader; I could have touched him. But I tried my best. I left everything on the track,” he explained.
Moores said he made friends from all over Canada. “I loved it, carryin’ on and laughing with them. I really loved it!”
Grand Bank-Fortune Seahawks Committee organized a motorcade escorting Moores through the town of Fortune for a reception in his honour at the arena.
One of the first people to greet him was friend and fellow athlete Justin Dodge, himself a gold medal winner at the World Special Olympics Games in Austria last year.
“I am very proud of him,” noted Dodge. “I knew he could do it, he is very determined. He just had to convince himself that he could do it.”
His coach Barbara Barnes was overwhelmed with Tony’s success.
“Oh, my God I can’t put into words how proud we are of him. He put in the time, the commitment and the effort and he deserved it.”
As well as training in his hometown, Moores also worked with his trainer Deidre Ryan at the YMCA in Marystown.
“He is an awesome athlete. It was an honour to work with him. He is a very determined athlete, hard working, very focused and always wants to do his best,” Ryan said.
Moores’ mother and father Eva and George and his sister Tracy were brimming with pride at his achievement.
“We are very proud of him and glad there is a group like this (the Seahawks) he can be involved with; it keeps him busy and active. We will encourage him to continue his training and involvement in the future,” said his sister.