Julie Bertrand / Independent reporter
Thomasina Payne outran her rivals to win two gold medals at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, which were held in Greece from June 25 to July 4.
She won her medals in the 3,000m run and in the 1,500 run. She also finished fourth in relay with her team.
“I got personal best in all my events,” said Payne.
Her family had made the trip to see her run, a decision they didn’t regret.
“It was an honour to be there. It was a privilege to see her run,” said her mother Marie Payne
After the Games, the Payne family traveled around Greece experiencing the culture.
“The trip to Greece was kind of fun actually,” said Payne.
Though Payne is only 20 years old, she has been a member of Red Deer Special Olympics since 2004.
Her events are the 100m, the 200m, the 1,500m, the 3,00m and the long jump in track field. In the past, she won five medals at the 2009 Special Olympic Provincial Summer Games in St. Albert and four silver medals at the Special Olympic Canada Summer Game in London, Ont., in 2010.
She also plays competitive curling at the provincial and national level.
She won the gold medal at the 2007 and 2011 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games and the silver medal in 2008 at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Quebec City.
“Special Olympics is a really great experience for anybody with intellectual disabilities to be involved in,” said Marie.
“It’s for anybody that wants to see the true spirit of sport. You really see the competitors at their best.”
Payne trains at least three days a week in a Red Deer Gym and runs almost every day, a regimen she has kept up for the past seven years.
She is not sure she will be there at the next Special Olympics World Summer Games.
“I’m thinking of taking a break for the next four years,“ concluded Payne.
However, she will be part of the Alberta curling team at the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter games.