Local News

Team USA Gymnasts Ready to Take on the World

Posted June 3, 1999

— In just a couple of weeks, athletes from around the globe will start arriving in the Triangle for theSpecial Olympics World Summer Games. Many of the athletes will amazeandinspire you.

A pair of young North Carolina gymnasts have overcome some huge obstacles to make it to Team USA.

As Cameron Thomas competes, her mom watches with pride and gratitude. Cameron was born seven and a half weeks premature, with serious medical problems. Doctors said she would never live.

This 11-year-old from Charlotte has come a long way. Her next stop is the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Cameron says she is very excited; her mother could not be more proud.

"I'd love for everybody else to look at her and feel just a little bit of what I feel for her because I'm so proud of her. I want the whole world to see her," says Linda Thomas.

Cameron's Team USA teammate, Andy Ullom, also knows about overcoming adversity. He, too, has a mental disability, plus a speech impediment.

Andy finds support in Special Olympics. Now, with his coach behind him, Andy has one thing on his mind.

"I'd like to win a medal," he says. A gold medal is more like it.

While medals are important, the point in watching these gymnasts is to congratulate them on what they had to overcome to get here and to celebrate their victories and their spirit.

"She's just the most wonderful little girl that any mother could be blessed with. She really is," says Linda Thomas of her daughter. "She has a heart of gold and a soul that goes with it."

Andy and Cameron are two of the youngest athletes from North Carolina who will compete at the World Games.

Andy is from Spring Lake and Cameron is from Charlotte. People from across the state will be cheering them on later this month.

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