When 9-year-old Special Olympics swimmer Rory Logan swam his 50-meter final in 53.15 seconds, a personal record, he never expected to receive a participation ribbon instead of a first-place medal. But that's exactly what happened, RT reports.
“This is a child with special needs, and when he excels he is penalized instead of being encouraged," his mom said. "To be honest, I didn't know whether to shout or cry.”
According to Belfast Live, Rory may miss out on the All Ireland Special Olympics next year. He swam a time of 1:03 in his heat race, which comes before finals. Rory's mother learned that a 15 percent faster time in a finals race results in disqualification to prevent swimmers from purposefully swimming slower beforehand to land in a slower division, although she said there's no chance her son, who has autism, schemed his way to the top.
"Rory swam 15.8 percent faster than his heat, but someone please explain to me how a nine-year-old child would think of doing that or being that calculating," she said. "I'm the first to admit Rory can be quite lazy when it comes to training; however, he is very competitive and the minute he saw those medals he just went for it. If he had a false start or didn't touch the wall and had been disqualified, I wouldn't have had a problem. He was technically perfect because one of the officials told me that, so basically he was penalized for being focused. I thought the whole idea of sport is to develop and improve, but it seems to me that if you work hard and are competitive you are penalized."
Rory went on to claim two gold medals at the swim meet: One for the 25-meter race, and one for his relay.
Sadly, Rory's mother appealed the swim officials' verdict and lost.
Just keep swimming (fast), Rory! We're rooting for you.
Banner Image Credit: Flickr, MissMessie