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Special Olympics Oregon athlete at ESPYS

Henry Meece. (KATU Photo)

Henry Meece is a Special Olympics athlete from Multnomah County, and an athlete with quite the resume.

“I started off in the World Games, where I was from in Korea, and I got my first gold medal in my entire life,” says Meece.

That was at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. He also teamed with Chris Klug to win gold at the 2015 X Games in Aspen, Colorado in the Special Olympics Unified Giant Slalom. Once again, Henry was thrilled.

“Pretty stoked,” says Meece, adding, “especially when I first found out and people were hugging me and high-fiving me.”

Special Olympics Oregon coach Riad Edwards has worked with Henry for several years and has enjoyed the journey as well.

“I love watching Henry evolve,” says Edwards. “We’ve been riding together for, I think, six years now and unlike other snowboarders -- other than just competing -- he really likes freestyle snowboarding. So he loves that freedom of going anywhere he can and jumping off of jumps and trying 180s. So he’s always pushing his abilities.”

Edwards and Meece traveled to Los Angeles for the ESPY awards that’s honoring some of the greatest athletes in the world.

“I know the other pros were there for sure,” says Meece. “But I think it was the last minute. My mom tagged me on Facebook about having a chance to meet Michelle Obama.”

Yes, Meece was onstage in Los Angeles with seven other athletes when Tim Shriver accepted the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award on behalf of his mother and the entire Special Olympics movement.

“It’s an honor to be there,” says Edwards. “They’re honoring Eunice Shriver and what she did in the 1960s, empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities was revolutionary. So, now we just follow in her footsteps.”

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