The 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles went swimmingly for Bill Smith, 51, who took home the gold medal for the 25-metre Freestyle event and silver for the equivalent Backstroke race. The Games ran from July 25th until August 2nd.
A member of Community Living Cambridge, Bill finished the former event with a time of 30.56 seconds and the latter in 39.89 seconds. He also placed fourth in the Freestyle Relay race, and described his thoughts during the events as “Trying to do my best.”
While he is the second Cambridge athlete to participate in the games, he is the first to win a medal of any sort, let alone gold. The previous entrant was Derek Dumbrell, who competed in 10-pin Bowling in 2002.
Bill worked hard to get this far, having practiced “since last Fall until the World Games. I went to the pool by myself.”
He qualified for the Games when he won golds in the 25 and 50-metre Backstroke events and the 50-metre Freestyle race at the 2014 National Games in Vancouver. Before that, he won four golds at the Ontario provincial Games in Kingston.
“I had a great time in Los Angeles,” he recounted, remembering how his trip went outside of the Games. “We went to the Science Museum. Before the Games, we went to Orange County, we went to an Angels game, and we went to a fair.”
When he’s not swimming or working at his position at the local Sobeys, Bill enjoys 10-pin bowling, basketball and going for long walks. He also volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul Value Centre, a Cambridge thrift store that assists people with low incomes, women’s crisis centres, fire victims, and individuals in transition.
– Daniel Share-Strom