ShareThis Page

Kiski Area grad to compete in World Dwarf Games

Michael Love
| Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, 12:09 a.m.
Danny Rose, 15, of Jefferson Hills, (left) will participate in the seventh World Dwarf Games in August 2017 at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Pictured with Rose is Stephen Winkle (right), a 2017 Kiski Area graduate who also will participate in the games.
submitted
Danny Rose, 15, of Jefferson Hills, (left) will participate in the seventh World Dwarf Games in August 2017 at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Pictured with Rose is Stephen Winkle (right), a 2017 Kiski Area graduate who also will participate in the games.

Updated 21 hours ago

Stephen Winkle is a big sports fan.

The 19-year-old enjoys playing basketball and soccer, and he joined the tennis team at his alma mater, Kiski Area, as a sophomore. He served as a team manager for the Cavaliers football and boys basketball teams and the Kiski Valley girls rugby squad.

Winkle, a 2017 Kiski grad, also is an ardent supporter of the Pittsburgh Passion women's semipro football team.

When it comes to playing the sports he loves, however, his stature can work against him.

Winkle is a dwarf, and at 4 feet, he is sometimes 2 feet shorter than his teammates or opponents.

But not this week.

The seventh World Dwarf Games at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, give Winkle the chance to compete against others his size.

“A lot of the other athletes that come here also play sports against taller people,” Winkle said. “This week, we don't have the challenges we normally have. We don't have to worry about trying to make a basket over someone who is 6 feet or taller. I can do what everyone else can do but in a different way. It really gives us confidence that we can go out there and do our best.”

Winkle is one of 125 U.S. athletes of all ages at the games this week. They began Aug. 4 with opening ceremonies, and they conclude Saturday.

“It was such an amazing feeling (at the opening ceremonies),” Winkle said. “I felt blessed. I was excited and hyped up for the games. Just being able to represent my country and hopefully win a medal is special.”

Winkle is competing in basketball, soccer, volleyball, table tennis and hockey. Other sports available this week include badminton, power lifting, bocce and archery.

“Some people have entered every sport,” Winkle said. “There is no limit.”

He has entered the table tennis tournament that is set to play out over the next couple of days.

“It is a fast-paced game with a lot of movement,” Winkle said. “I can't wait to see how I do.”

His other sports are in a team format. Whole teams often assemble before the games and enter as a unit, but as a solo competitor, Winkle was placed on teams that formed with others in his situation.

“That is a great way to meet new people,” he said.

Winkle said he and the other athletes from the countries with larger athlete contingents such as England, the U.S. and Canada have rallied around the single athlete from countries such as Austria and Kazakstan.

“We cheer on every country,” Winkle said. “We're all family here. We are just happy to have the chance to play sports.”

The World Dwarf Games are in Canada for the second time. They were held in Toronto in 2001. The first games were in Chicago in 1993 with 10 countries and 165 athletes. It has grown to 430 athletes from 22 countries.

“He's had neck surgery, leg surgery and back surgery, but he keeps going,” said Stephen's mother, Tina.

“He's like the energizer bunny. He's always been sports oriented, and I think (the world games) is awesome. He doesn't give up. He does what he can the way he can do it. It's great to see him have so much fun this week.”

Winkle will be attending Pittsburgh Institute of Technology starting in October. He is chronicling his experiences at the World Dwarf Games on Twitter @stephen05455.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.