Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com
Barbra Shimoda said she vividly remembers the first time her son starting skating at the age of 7. She never imagined it would lead to him attending the 2017 Special Olympic Winter World Games.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen," Barbra Shimoda said. "We know we have our State Games in Illinois but the World Games—it's just not something you can plan for."
Out of 6,800 Chicago Special Olympic athletes, Tommy Shimoda is the only Chicagoan attending the games. The 24-year-old is headed to Austria in March with six other athletes from Illinois that will be representing Team USA. He will be competing in two speed skating events; the 500-meter race and the 777-meter race.
Shimoda is diagnosed with autism and communicates to others using a voice box. He’s been skating for 17 years and said his biggest inspiration is his brother, Clarke.
"I like speed skating because I get to go fast," Shimoda said. "Since I started training more for the games, my brother said I now skate faster than him."
Shimoda has been preparing for the World Games ever since he found out he would be attending after the State Games last year.
"I have been practicing three times a week," Shimoda said.
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