One word comes to mind for Roy Paynter when describing his experience at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
The Clinton resident recently won two gold, one silver and two bronze medals as a member of Team Canada in Abu Dhabi.
“It was amazing,” said Paynter in describing what it was like to represent Canada. “I had a blast. It was so awesome.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is I’m speechless.”
Although Paynter has returned home with many memories, there are two poignant moments that really stood out for the 21-year-old son of Brian and Sarah Paynter. One was the first time O’Canada was played after a gold-medal performance.
“It hit me right in the heart,” said Paynter.
Paynter and his family also shared an emotional moment as he was presented with the gold medal for the 100-metre breaststroke.
“It made my mom cry,” he said. “She was in tears and I was like, ‘OK, don’t make a scene.’”
Sarah added: “That really put me to tears because he had to fight for that one, and he squeaked out the gold medal. Of course, the other ones still brought tears. You are at a World Games and he’s medalling. It was just amazing to see him do that.”
Sarah is also Roy’s coach with Special Olympics P.E.I. and understands the time and commitment he has put into his swimming.
“We are very proud of him," said Sarah, who noted Roy has basically been in the pool five days a week for the last two years. “I didn’t expect him to do as well as he did. It was a shock, but It was great to see.”
Medals won by Roy Paynter at Special Olympics World Games
- 200-metre freestyle (2:55.70)
- 100-metre breaststroke (1:44.76)
- 4x50-metre relay (2:31.21)
- 100-metre backstroke (1:34.91)
Welcome Home Party
Paynter’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. The Town of Kensington will hold a Welcome Home Party for Paynter and his family at the Murray Christian Centre on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.
“It’s amazing,” said Sarah in describing the support her son has received from his hometown. “It’s a small community, it’s a small province and I came from Ontario 20-some years ago, this is amazing how much the community comes together when something like this happens.
“He has his picture everywhere, Murphy’s Pharmacy has 'Congratulations' on their windows and (Tuesday) night we went out for supper and someone ended up paying for our bill because Roy made such a good impression on the town. It’s quite a thing.”
Although Roy was honoured to represent Canada, he never forgot where he came from.
"I knew in the back of my head that I was representing P.E.I. and Kensington.”
Lone P.E.I. athlete
The lone P.E.I. athlete on Team Canada, Roy earned the right to compete in the World Games by winning six medals at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games in Antigonish, N.S.
“I didn’t expect to win a medal (at the World Games),” he admitted. “I was just hoping to do my best.
“To win four medals, I guess I did more than my best.”