Alex Guild gets in a run on campus with personal trainer Jenny Chaudoir of Green Bay. Chaudoir, an accomplished runner, has been working with Guild for more than a year. Photo courtesy Todd McMahon/
The De Pere Journal.
Registrar’s son medals in Special Olympics World Winter Games
It’s not every day parents have the opportunity to watch their children compete on the world stage, but registrar Rick Guild recently had that chance.
Guild and his wife, Laurie, traveled to South Korea to watch their 22-year-old son, Alex, compete in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Alex earned silver and bronze medals in snowshoe racing events.
“It was a fantastic experience. We had an opportunity to experience a new culture, meet families from around the world and watch Alex,” Guild says. “I don’t think there is anything else to compare our trip to.”
In South Korea, Alex – who was one of just three Wisconsin athletes to attend the games – earned a silver medal in the five kilometer race and a bronze medal in the 1,600 meters. He also competed in the 1,600-meter relay.
Alex, the youngest of the Guild’s four children, has participated in the Special Olympics for six years. A 2012 graduate of Syble Hopp in De Pere, he was physically weak as a child and showed symptoms of sensory integration dysfunction. He went through years of therapy and now Guild says it’s amazing to see the boy who once couldn’t walk, run and participate in physical activities.
“The Special Olympics is very unique atmosphere – you’re cheering on everyone,” his dad says. “The parents all recognize we share the same challenges having a child with disabilities. It’s all very heartwarming.”
An avid runner – he’s participated in several running races including the Cellcom Half Marathon – Alex started snowshoeing a few years ago after a recommendation from a teacher. He earned his spot in the Winter Olympics after going through a qualification process and then having his name pulled during a random drawing.
While in South Korea, the Guilds stayed at a hotel with other parents about 40 minutes away from the sporting venues while Alex stayed with a host family. The parent contingent ate together and traveled together to and from the events.
“We wanted to meet as many people as possible from as many different countries as possible and we did that,” Guild says. “For example, we met the snowshoeing coach from Egypt who talked about how they trained by running on sand. It was just fascinating.”
He estimates they met people from more than 90 countries. Guild says it was eye-opening to see how different countries deal with people who have disabilities, but that “while we may be from different places, we were united by our children and the challenges our families have gone through. There were a lot of real bonds formed among the families and we expect for those to continue now that we’re all home.”
The Guilds enjoy watching Alex compete and relish all of the experiences he’s had through Special Olympics. Rick Guild says, “It was very cool to see him up against other kids with similar abilities. It was very competitive. When they came back to the United States, there was a big celebration … in Los Angeles and it was very all very exciting for him and all of the other athletes.”