Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oregon teen always crosses the finish line for his HS track team

Gabe Lee

Oregon teen Gabe Lee, 16, who has Down syndrome, competes in the 800-meter as part of his high school track team in Medford.

According to a profile of Lee in the Mail Tribune on May 11, "the affable 16-year-old is simply living a dream as part of his beloved North Medford High School track team."

"I enjoy track," says Lee, a sophomore. "I love to run."

"It's been wonderful for him," says Gabe's father Joe Lee, who attends the majority of North's meets and practices. "He's always wanted to be a part of his school and part of a team."

"Lee approaches each practice with his trademark, warming smile and is in charge of leading the team through its daily warm-ups," according to the article.

"He's just a fun kid and a young man who makes you smile," coach Pieter Voskes says. "It's strange, but it seems like he's always been there because he fits in so well.

"With Gabe, what is so inspiring is that he never comes to track practice in a bad mood. His enthusiasm is infectious. He is a refreshing reminder of how fun the sport is. That has rubbed off on kids when they become overwhelmed by marks and performances that they forget the fun part."