Mt. Greenwood Special Olympian receives Espy Award

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CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Mount Greenwood athlete is one of just 25 Special Olympians receiving an honorary Espy Award.

The local speed skater will need to make some space for this trophy to go along with his bronze and gold medals from this year's Special Olympics Winter Games.

Tommy Shimoda was given an honorary Espy Award for his talent, dedication and enthusiasm for athletics.

"Winning the Espy Award is great. I am so lucky and proud," he said.

Tommy has autism and cannot speak because of a disability known as verbal dyspacsia, but that has not stopped him from communicating with the world and fulfilling his dreams.

"When there is a new challenge, Tommy is always up for it and that gives other athletes a nice path to follow in his footsteps," his mother Barbara De Kerf Shimoda said.

"It is well deserved. He is an awesome athlete and it is just wonderful for all of our coaches here at Mt. Greenwood to see him compete," said Lisa Mulcrone, Tommy's coach.

Surrounded by his family, coaches and campers, Tommy happily accepted his award but he is already looking ahead to what's next.

"My next goal is to go the summer world games and compete in gymnastics one day," he said.

Tommy has also started training in speed skating for the 2021 Winter Games. He's a volunteer camp counselor and helps with coaching the next generation of Special Olympians.

ABC will televise the Espy Awards live at 7 p.m. on July 12.
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