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Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Hearts Of Gold: A Celebration Of Special Olympics And Its Heroes

In the category of pure skill, there is Robert Vasquez. The twelve-year-old from Virginia, USA competed in the top level of gymnastics at the 1995 World Games. In his best event, the rings, Bobby earned a gold medal. Bobby also won four silvers: in the floor exercise, vault, pommel horse, and all-around; one bronze, in the parallel bars; and a fourth place in the high bars.

Bobby's coach Shane Revill, who also coaches non-Special Olympics athletes, considers Bobby's skill and his flexibility in a league with many regular gymnasts. The biggest obstacle to Bobby's success is his frustration when he can't do a move or when things don't go his way. "We had trouble on the first day of competition, when we got a score we didn't agree with," said Shane. "I thought Bobby would be down for the rest of the week. But the next day, he went on his own and apologized to the officials for his poor sportsmanship. Then the group he was competing with came together, almost like a team, instead of athletes competing against each other. High fives, great attitudes – it ended up being the meet of everyone's lives! Bobby ate it up and did a flawless routine on the rings to win the gold."

Source: Dinn, Sheila. Hearts of Gold: A Celebration of Special Olympics and Its Heroes. Woodbridge, CT: Blackbirch Press, Inc., 1996: 58-59.

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Famous Sports StarsOther SportsEunice Kennedy Shriver Biography - Growing Up A Kennedy, Presidential Influence, Someone Believes, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Still Going Strong