Two bronze, two gold and 20,000+ hits


By Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



Abbi Conley and Mike Moore had an amazing week in Seattle as did their friends, families and any number of individuals who followed their Special Olympic exploits on social media.

Conley, an excellent swimmer, won two golds in track and field, one in the javelin and the other in the 4 x 100 event. Abbi and her mother, Linda also captured a lot of hearts across Ohio if not the world wide web in the video that captured them finding out that Lima’s Special Olympian had claimed gold in the javelin.

Moore added yet another golden memory to his ledger with two bronze and a narrow golden miss. His real gold happened on Sunday morning when the Wapak fire department met him at the gate to the city and the bowling icon climbed into the hook and ladder truck for a triumphant entry into the city. There were will wishers along the way but easily 200 people were gathered in downtown Wapak and ultimately in the Eagles to welcome home their hero.

Conley simply captured hearts even before her celebration with mom went viral on the internet. She has captured multiple gold medals in her special Olympic career but Seattle a special moment for her. A great deal of it had to do with her loving attitude toward others.

Mother Linda provided insight.

“She has to wave and this was not any different – they called out her name and she waved and then she calmly marched right up and threw it. She was very consistent there was very little difference in her tosses. She waved at each toss as well as when she went to get on the platform for the gold medal presentation.”

Abbi may be a natural as a javelin thrower but the 4x100 brought some trepidation to the family. The results however brought joy.

“She could not quite see us at first from her spot on the track, but she kept looking and the wave was there. She is not a great runner but she loves to compete and she has run before. She was on a team with a girl from Perrysburg and two boys, one from Hilliard and the other from Newark. She ran the first leg, doing what she needed to do, including a clean passing of the baton. The next runner did well and the two boys were really fast and the end result was another gold.”

She also earned a ribbon for her finish in the 100 walk.

The coaches did a fantastic job. They were attentive to her needs and the needs of the team. They hung out with the team, played games with them and helped them throughout the week. It was an amazing week.”

Congrats Abbi for the joy you brought to the city.

There were times as I followed Mike Moore’s venture for the week that I felt that folks were “clueless in Seattle.” I even understood why some folks there would have been sleepless. Much more on that at a later date.

The Moore-Jeanneret family from Tater and Mary Ellen to Josie and Rylie would tell you however that they had a great time and that they were looking forward to Orlando in four years. What Mike is not going to retire from competition before that time?

Mike, the Icon, who is always a threat to win gold, and will be even more of one in four years, brought two bronze home from Seattle and as well as thoughts about what could have been it his partner would have been able to make the trip.

Mike showed the typical Moore character and grace when we had the chance to chat.

“When they told me that we did not win the gold in doubles, I took off my hat and my head just …. “

We will leave it right there as that moment was also caught on film and was so painful that it was deleted from the coaches camera and thus never made it to the Ohio website. It kind of reminds me of the agony and ecstasy piece on ABC Wide World of Sports.

To the surprise of nobody Mike was Mike at the welcome home from the time that he stepped into that fire engine until he had hugged all the people and posed for every picture that he could at the welcome home.

“I just cannot believe this, all the people are here.” It is even more noteworthy that beyond the remarks in the hug shortly after getting off the fire engine that everything else that he had to say about the week and the day was positive.

Mike Moore you are indeed one special young man as shown by all who came out to welcome you home. Incidentally it was his birthday yesterday and his sister Sarah’s birthday today. Happy Birthday to both of you!

I hear there has been some talk of Mike being made a Special Olympics Ambassador. Now that would be a great plan. He has the experience as that is what he and his family have been for Auglaize County for some time.

Abbi and Mike we love you. You have brought honor and pride to your communities.

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By Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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