Special Olympics gold puts smile on Penn Township teen's face
As Robert Grolemund walks out of his room, several medals and ribbons adorn his neck. A big smile on his face, Robert shows off his latest win -- a gold medal in the state Special Olympics for freestyle swimming.
Robert's mother, Cassandra, smiles and says, "You know how Mr. T wears all those chains around his neck• I always say Robert looks like Mr. T with all those medals."
Robert has trisomy 22, a disorder that gives him three -- instead of the usual two -- copies of the 22nd chromosome. It is similar to Down syndrome, which is caused by a third 21st chromosome.
Robert, 15, started competing in the Special Olympics three years ago through the Clairview School of Greensburg, a school for children with special needs in Westmoreland County.
The Penn Township teen competes in swimming, track and field, bowling and golf Special Olympics events. His favorite, clearly, is swimming. In July, Robert went to Penn State University, where he won his gold medal in freestyle swimming and a fourth-place ribbon in the backstroke event.
When Robert came home from the event, he couldn't wait to tell his mother he had won.
"I surprised her big time," he says with a grin.
Mom laughs as she recalls the day.
"I went to the school to pick him up, and I was putting his suitcase in the trunk," she says. "I asked him how he did and he said, 'Not so good,' and he reached out and pulled out his fourth-place ribbon. Then, he said, 'The really bad news is that I got a gold medal,' and he pulled it out of his shorts pocket.
"I started screaming and jumping up and down. He must have practiced that on the way home."
Robert competed against people ages 12 to 40 from throughout the state. He trained throughout the school year and practice at his uncle's pool helped him get better.
"I compete against people that are in school and not in school," he says. "It's tough facing different people that have more speed than you do. I get a lot faster in the winter when swimming (training) starts."
Robert qualified for the state Special Olympics at Penn State after qualifying in the Westmoreland County swimming events.
Cassandra Grolemund is proud of her son.
"Everyone in my family is a big swimmer, but no one has accomplished what he has," she says. "We're all quite proud of him."
Show commenting policy
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.
- Honored Westmoreland youth counselor sought in theft of money from clients
- Man wields knife in convenience store robbery near Herminie
- Ruffsdale family loses daughter, 9, to cancer but gives back in her name
- Derry Township man killed when ATV flips
- Kopas, citing poor state inspection, pushes to end deal for Westmoreland Manor operator
- Record-holding female motorcyclist to speak at Lincoln Highway event
- Prison becomes detox center for growing number of inmates with addictions
- Greensburg YMCA pool upgrade in works
- Detaining juveniles charged as adults costs Westmoreland reimbursement money
- Renovations a go on historic La Rose building in downtown Greensburg
- Westmoreland County Animal Response Team seeks money for new space