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Friday, June 17, 2011

Cody Missimer Swims for Team USA in Special Olympics: article

Fox Chicago : By Tisha Lewis, FOX Chicago News : June 17 2011

Chicago - He faced a huge challenge from the time he was a little boy, overcoming a disability. Cody Missimer’s parents wanted him to learn life skills, so they signed him up for swimming lessons before he even started school.

You may ask what Missimer has in common with entertainer Eminem.

“I watched the movie 8 Mile with Eminem and he has this one shot, one opportunity and one night my dad, we were watching the movie and he was like, ‘Hey Cody, here's your one shot, one opportunity for Greece,’ “ Missimer said.

“He got meningitis at 14 days old and he was in the hospital for a month and we weren't sure he was going to live for the first week and as he was developing it was clear that he had some issues,” Missimer’s mother Linda Cunabaugh said.

But these days you'll catch Missimer preparing for his one shot at Woodstock North High School's swimming pool.

That breast stroke secured the 22-year-old's spot on Team USA at the Special Olympics World Games in Greece.

“It's the best recipe for world peace, Special Olympics,” Director of Communications for the Special Olympics Illinois, Barbara DiGuido said.

A combination of perseverance, form and focus on everything positive transformed Missimer's adversity to victory.

“Go out there, try your hardest, do your best and stuff like that,” Missimer said.

When he's not diving he's downloading music. Missimer said DJ-ing is a passion.

“If you ask him, I'm sure that he wants to be a DJ when he grows up,” Missimer’s mother said.

Though he's on the fast lane to success, he hasn't forgotten those who helped him along the way, including his high school coach and current trainer.

“He has a sense of humor, he's a very positive person and that's why I enjoy being around him,” Missimer’s trainer, Ian Shanahan said.

At this pace, whether he wins in Athens, at home, he's good as gold.

When asked about his motto for life, Missimer said, “My motto is go out there, keep trying, don't give up, just keep doing it.”

Missimer will join 7,000 athletes from across the globe, all with various intellectual and physical disabilities. Team USA leaves for Athens Saturday morning.

Missimer is one of eight Illinois members of Team USA.

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