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Rochester Man and Special Olympics Athlete Brings Home the Gold

July 08, 2018 10:52 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Rochester’s only Special Olympics athlete just came back from Seattle bringing with him a gold medal. Alex Steffl was one of four Minnesota men competing on the track and field team.

Last week, Alex collected 51 pins in four days at the Special Olympics USA games.

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"Minnesota had a pin so I got a whole bag of Team Minnesota pins and I traded all of them. It took four days to get all 51," said Alex.

That was just one of his many accomplishments as part of Team Minnesota.

He competed in four events: the 100-meter run, 200-meter run, shot put, and 4 by 100-meter relay.  

Team Minnesota sent four males and four females to compete in Track and Field and showcased the abilities of these athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Alex has autism and had to jump over a few hurdles to prepare for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. 

“Staying focused a little bit, being committed to training,” said his dad Kevin Steffl.

To get ready, Alex spent nights running with his dad, training with the Rochester Flyers and with Team Minnesota.

“I did make a lot of new friends, and see a lot of new faces,” said Alex.

The men’s team pulled ahead in the games, winning first place in the relay race, “Relay race was pretty hard. We got first place, gold medal,” said Alex.

His mom Michelle Steffl said it was one of the most exciting parts of the weekend, “We were on the edge of our seats because that was his last race, that was the last event of the week,” said Michelle.

But Michelle says it’s not the gold medal that matters, “It doesn’t matter if you’re first or third. He won an award and he wanted to come home with a medal,” said Michelle.

When Alex won bronze in the shot put, his entire family was there to support him, "He came and saw us and started to get teary eyed and then we all got teary eyed. He was just so happy to see us, even though he got third place he was just happy to get a medal," said Kevin.

Michelle says Alex embodies the Special Olympics motto, "The motto is, let me win, but if I don't win, let me be brave at the attempt. And that's exactly what he did".

Credits

Talia Milavitz

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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