BOCES student takes home 2 gold medals at state Special Olympics

Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 11:48 AM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- On Oct. 21. Mikey Haefner cycled at the state-level Special Olympics.

Despite the rain, Mikey and his team went to Glens Falls to cycle the long road around SUNY Adirondack College. Not only did Mikey take home gold; he took home two gold medals that day.

“I felt like a champion,” Mikey said. “I did it. I got medals and I was proud of myself.”

Although Mikey loves to cycle, his favorite part goes beyond the actual sport.

“[My favorite part is] Being with my friends, being with people who make me happy and talking to people,” Mikey said. “I like that and being outgoing.”

Mikey graduates from BOCES this year, but is still continuing to train and compete in cycling. He also competes in snowshoeing, track and this year might take up swimming.

All of these wouldn’t be possible without his coach Chelsea Hinman and raising funds through the “Polar Bear Plunge.”

Hinman has been coaching the students in Special Olympics for more than 11 years. She trains with the students once a week to eventually go to the three state games to compete.

Hinman said she is super proud of Mikey and the other students and loves watching their confidence blossom.

“As a teacher, educator and coach it’s probably one of the best things,” Hinman said. “It’s what you always strive to see and it’s what you always try to instill in them, that if they try their best they will achieve greatness and they all can and it’s amazing when they do.”

The Polar Bear Plunge will take place on Nov. 4. It will take place at Chenango Valley State Park. Funds raised at the event will help allow students to go to the state games. Last year, they raised more than $12,000.

This is one of Hinman’s favorite events for various reasons.

“Seeing their reaction when they jump into the cold water but also seeing the hype that the athletes have about jumping into cold water but how amazing it is that they just love and are excited about everything they do with Special Olympics,” Hinman said. “It really is a great opportunity for them and a great build of community and friend base for them.”

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