Thursday, July 14, 2011

LT alum takes home gold at Special Olympics games in Greece

For a kid who started to swim before she could walk, competing for Team USA is sweet indeed for Jeanne DeCarlo at the Special Olympics World Summer games in Athens.

And winning a gold medal in her third and final race July 3 was like the proverbial icing on the cake for the Lyons Township High School alumna from Brookfield with the encouragement of her own cheering section of 10 family members and friends.

“It was tremendous,” DeCarlo said after a whirlwind 10 days of competing in the same venue as the 2004 Olympics. “I did very well, and everyone was very helpful.”

DeCarlo, 37, won a gold medal in the 4x50 meter freestyle relay. a bronze in the 100 meter freestyle and a fourth-place in the 50 meter freestyle race.

“It was amazing meeting people from all over the world,” she said. “We traded pins, and I have 40 pins from different countries, like Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany and India.”

A highlight of the trip was hearing Stevie Wonder perform at the opening ceremony.

“It was amazing to see him. He got the crowd dancing,” DeCarlo recalled. “I did a dance with a Greek dancer, and we went around in circles.”