Olympics

Chicagoan headed to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter World Games

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Chicagoan headed to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter World Games

Rosie Langello

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.

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

Local blind triathlete wins national championship

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Kathleen McAuliffe/MEDILL

Local blind triathlete wins national championship

Kathleen McAuliffe
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

Swimming 750 meters, cycling 24.8 miles and then running 6.2 miles is demanding enough.

But at this year’s USA Triathlon national championships, Ashley Eisenmenger couldn’t see the pool before diving into the water. She didn’t know which way to turn on her bike. She couldn’t monitor her running pace on a watch. She couldn’t even reach for her water bottle.

But for Eisenmenger, a national champion triathlete who is legally blind, it’s her reason to wake up every morning.

“To give the most I have to give,” she said, “not in just in triathlon but in life. It’s about discipline and structure. That’s what triathlon gives me.”

With no vision in her left eye and limited, fading vision in her right, Eisenmenger, 20, has been legally blind since birth. Despite her physical limitations, the Tolono, Ill. native played softball and basketball during middle school. When she started high school, she turned to running to cope with social changes and her diminishing vision.

“I wanted something that I knew I could do no matter what changed and that was running,” she said. “If the remainder of my vision was gone, I could still tether to a guide and still run.”

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

Melissa Stockwell: Red, White & True

Melissa Stockwell: Red, White & True

Check out the incredible story of veteran Melissa Stockwell, a paratriathlete driven to win gold in Rio this month in honor of those who serve and have served our country.

CSN is proud to present Melissa Stockwell: Red, White & True. The CSN Original can be seen in its entirety in the video above.

And be sure to check out additional features from the episode in the videos below.

Take a tour of Melissa Stockwell's illustrious trophy room

Look at the different prosethic legs Melissa Stockwell uses during competition

Check out how Melissa Stockwell works out and prepares for a paratriathalon