Mt. Greenwood speed skater heads to Special Olympics

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There was a special sendoff on Saturday for a Chicago-area athlete participating in the Special Olympics Winter Games in Austria.

Mt. Greenwood native Tommy Shimoda is one of just nine speed-skaters nationwide to qualify for this year's games.

He is one of six athletes from Illinois competing in the Special Olympics Winter Games in events including snowshoeing, cross-county skiing and alpine skiing.

Top row from left: Danielle Lanxon, Jamiah Shepard, Stephen McVoy
Bottom row from left: Thomas Shimoda, Lisa Menichino, James Wireman

The 24-year-old Shimoda has autism and cannot speak.

Loved ones and political leaders gathered at Mt. Greenwood Park to wish him well.

"Today is a day that brings not only our community together but our entire city together honoring our hero, Tommy Shimoda," said Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th Ward).

Shimoda was also presented with a U.S. flag that flew over the capital building in Washington, DC.

ABC will carry the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics World Games on Saturday, March 18 starting at 1:00 p.m.
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