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Ayalin started with bowling; now he’s doing power lifting

July 20, 2010

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Story and Video: Brooke Herbig, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

When Romeo Ayalin began competing in the Special Olympics at age 9, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and heart and speech conditions. The native of the Philippines could participate only in bowling because of his handicaps.

On July 19, Ayalin represented Surprise, Ariz., during 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games, competing in the lightweight power lifting competition.

As Ayalin participates in Special Olympics, his posture and general condition have improved. He has participated in basketball, track and field and volleyball. He eventually got to go to the World Games in 1995 and represent Team USA.

After Ayalin saw California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Special Olympics event, he started to study Schwarzenegger, watching the former bodybuilder and actor’s movies and reading about him in magazines.

When asked what he would do if he ever got the chance to meet Schwarzenegger, Ayalin said, “If I ever met Arnold, I would treat him to McDonalds”.

The Special Olympics are exceptionally important to Ayalin. His parents are proud of their son and grateful to the Special Olympics.

“First comes God, then the Special Olympics,” Ayalin’s mother, Cristina, said. The Special Olympics and his church have changed Ayalin’s life.

According to Ayalin’s brother, Romeo, “If we can find people like us who will love our brother the same that we love him, he will make a miracle.”

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  1. Wonderful story!

    Comment by Ann Herbig — July 21, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  2. To the point and an superb article.

    Comment by Jennifer Picket — August 11, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

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