‘My dream come true!’ Heartwarming moment a 14-year-old gymnast with Down Syndrome learned she qualified to compete in 2022 Special Olympics

  • Izzy Brinkerhoff, 14, from Clifton Park, New York, was surprised with the news at Mohawk Chevrolet after being told she was going car shopping with her sister
  • The young athlete’s family, her coach Marlene Michels, and Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman were all there to celebrate 
  • Brinkerhoff was selected from hundreds of local Special Olympics athletes to compete for the New York team in the USA Games 
  • The national competition will be held at Disney World in Florida in June 2022
  • The teen gymnast has been competing for six years and is a 10-time Special Olympics gold medalist 
  • Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here.

A teenage gymnast with Down syndrome was surprised with the news that she has been selected to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in 2022 in a heartwarming video.  

Izzy Brinkerhoff, 14, from Clifton Park, New York, thought she was going car shopping with her sister when she entered Mohawk Chevrolet on May 25, but she was greeted with confetti and balloons in her honor, the Times Union reported.  

The young athlete’s family, her coach Marlene Michels, and Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman were all there to celebrate her making the New York team.  

‘My dream come true!’ Brinkerhoff screamed. ‘I feel really good.’ 

Celebration: Gymnast Izzy Brinkerhoff, 14, from Clifton Park, New York, was surprised with the news that she will be competing at the Special Olympics USA Games in 2022


Special moment: The teen, who has Down syndrome, gave her coach Marlene Michels (pictured) a big hug during  the celebration that was thrown in her honor at Mohawk Chevrolet

According to the Times Union, the gymnast seemed stunned but she celebrated the exciting news by doing some cartwheels inside the dealership. 

Brinkerhoff was selected from hundreds of local Special Olympics athletes to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games, which will be held at Disney World in Florida next June.

She will compete on the balance beam, bars, vault, and floor exercises with a team of boys and girls during the 10-day competition.   

A video of the moment that was shared on Twitter by Times Union reporter Wendy Liberator shows Hengsterman telling Brinkerhoff she qualified for the Special Olympics USA Games.   

‘We checked with her parents first to see if we could surprise her,’ Hengsterman told the Times Union. ‘It’s worth every second of planning. It’s just awesome. She’s great. I’m super proud of her.’ 

The Special Olympics USA Games is held every four years, and athletes live together in a village, just like the Olympic Games. If parents attend, they are not to coddle the competitors. 

‘We want to be an experience, to be part of a delegation,’ Hengsterman said. ‘It’s an incredible opportunity for them.’ 

Mohawk Chevrolet, where the surprise took place, is a corporate supporter of the Special Olympics New York. It costs the New York organization about $200,000 to pay for the athletes and coaches to attend the national competition. 

Talented: Brinkerhoff has been competing as a gymnast for six years and is a 10-time Special Olympics gold medalist


Competition: The gymnast will compete on the balance beam, bars, vault, and floor exercises with a team of boys and girls during the 10-day competition

Exciting: The Special Olympics USA Games is held every four years, and athletes live together in a village, just like the Olympic Games

Brinkerhoff’s coach was thrilled that she made the team, and another clip shows them hugging while everyone around them claps.   

‘It’s incredible,’ Michels said. ‘I’m so proud of her. She does so well and trains so hard. It’s an incredible honor.’ 

Brinkerhoff has been competing for six years and is a 10-time Special Olympics gold medalist, WAMC reported in October. 

The gymnast told the public radio station that she loves to see her family cheering her on in the stadium.  

‘I bring my whole family. My parents come and watch,’ she said, adding: ‘They shout my name.’

Source: Read Full Article