Powerlifter Tommy Mooney used a birdbath on his way to Special Olympic Games


Special Olympics New York athlete Tommy Mooney is headed to the Special Olympics USA Games with help from a coach, mom and a couple of milk cartons.

Special Olympics New York athlete Tommy Mooney has always loved sports and competition. His participation in some part of Special Olympics dates back to when he was only nine years old playing basketball.

Now 35, Mooney has taken to a much different sport that requires an incredible amount of commitment. Powerlifting.

His mother Ani explained to FanSided what was so appealing to her son about pushing his body to the physical limit.

“He wanted to be one of the guys,” Ani Mooney explained. “In the past, Tommy tried many times to join high school football, high school swimming and he was never accepted. This gave him an opportunity to do what he loves the best, to be part of the sports to be an athlete.”

Tommy Mooney won’t be stopped

Mooney has not just been trying to compete, he has been trying to win. During the pandemic when gyms were closed, Mooney used a PVC pipe to hang gallon water jugs, improvising weights to make sure his fitness level did not slip. He also put a birdbath on his back while he was doing pushups on the lawn.

Now back in the gym, Mooney trains with former powerlifter now Special Olympics New York coach Chris Hughes. He is in the same space as everyone else at the gym, one of the guys, except for his arrival time.

“He was at practice 20 minutes before every practice,” Hughes said. “He was on the bike 20 minutes before every practice. You could tell he was going to be successful no matter what.”

Mooney got the news that he was hoping for this past July. His determination and work ethic of lifting every day losing 65 pounds in the process while adding muscle had paid off.

Mooney was granted a coveted spot in Orlando at the Special Olympics USA Games next summer. The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022 in Orlando, Florida and will unite more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean during one of the country’s most cherished sporting events.

“It feels like a dream come true,” Tommy Mooney told FanSided. “I cried, I work out every day. I am so proud of it.”

Mooney promises to do his best as he attempts to win a gold medal. There will be no stone or birdbath unturned in the coming months as Mooney continues to raise the bar in sport, inclusion, competition and belonging.

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