Special Olympics: Athlete Amelia Hernandez - FOX 32 News Chicago

Special Olympics: Athlete Amelia Hernandez

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Growing up on the west side of Chicago, Amelia Hernandez has been competing in Special Olympics since she was 7 years old. This summer, she will represent Team Illinois at the USA games in New Jersey - adding yet another accomplishment to an athletic career that has spanned almost five decades.

At the age of 57, Amelia Hernandez won't even think about retirement.

"I never stop," she told FOX 32's Jeff Herndon.

The power lifter from Chicago won a gold medal in the first Special Olympics at Chicago's Soldier Field in 1968. She hasn't stopped winning gold ever since.

"If you ask me how many gold medals she has, maybe 26,000 over the years," Amelia's mom said.

She remembers the first time she saw her daughter compete.

"Oh wow! I thought, 'what could the rest do?'" she recalls.

Amelia started her career in Special Olympics on the track.

"I was running the 50 meter dash, standing long jump and softball throw," Amelia said.

Now, her focus is on power lifting and the upcoming USA games. She is training hard to win gold in New Jersey. Her desire to compete hasn't changed in 45 years.

"It's fun. It is good for me to do all the time. I am never going to quit," she said.

Amelia loves power lifting, but her other favorite sport is floor hockey. She is the goalie and her nickname is Spider.

In the coming weeks, FOX 32 News will profile more Illinois athletes set to compete in the USA games.

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