Local athlete will compete in Special Olympics in Athens

Local athlete will compete in Special Olympics in Athens

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PENNSAUKEN — For as long as he can remember, Kurt Schmidt has been involved in team sports, be it bowling, softball, flag football, or even as a basketball manager.

And now Schmidt, 47, who is mentally challenged, will be a member of Team USA’s bowling squad for the Special Olympics World Summer Games, to be held in a place that has long showcased courageous athletic feats, Athens, Greece.

But before leaving for Greece he will be inducted into the Camden Catholic High School Hall of Fame on April 16.

A 1985 graduate of the school’s special education program, Schmidt was on the school’s bowling squad, and served as the basketball and bowling manager with the Irish. His dedication to school and sport was evident early on, as he was voted by his peers as having the most school spirit.

Living with his mother, Joyce, in Pennsauken, Schmidt, also a graduate of St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral Elementary School in Camden and St. John of God Community Services in Westville Grove, spends his days working part-time at McDonald’s and participating in sports: bowling during the winter, softball in the spring/summer, and flag football in the fall.

When he found out in August that he was picked to be a part of Team USA, one of seven athletes from New Jersey on the bowling squad, the training began.

At least twice a week, and sometimes more, the St. Peter’s, Merchantville parishioner bowls, usually at 30 Strikes in Stratford, or Laurel Lanes in Mt. Laurel. Daily activities include a mile walk, push-ups and sit-ups.

Long trips for competition are becoming familiar for the family. Last year, Schmidt went to Special Olympics’ National Games in Nebraska as a member of the flag football team.

On June 18, Schmidt will join his team at the Special Olympics complex in Princeton before flying out for the games in Greece, to be played June 25-July 4. Some 7,500 Special Olympic athletes from 185 nations, will compete in 22 Olympic-type sports.

Joining Schmidt in Greece, and cheering him on, will be his mother; sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Steve; and brother Joe.

Categories: Catholic School News

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