Special to the Record
Special Olympics BC – Comox Valley athlete Larry McCooey joined Special Olympics at the tender age of nine. Now, 40 years later, this dedicated athlete is going strong and continuing his sporty lifestyle.
“He’s been active his whole life,” his father Leighton McCooey says. “He likes all sports.”
Larry McCooey currently participates in swimming, curling, and his favourite, bowling. He used to play floor hockey and golf, and also participated in a horseshoe club.
This longtime athlete is no stranger to competition and has proven his prowess in both bowling and swimming at Special Olympics Canada Games.
McCooey fondly remembers winning gold in swimming at the 1989 Special Olympics BC Summer Games in Campbell River, and taking home silver in freestyle and bronze in breaststroke from the 1990 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver. For this achievement he was honoured with a plaque from the Royal Bank. Today he cherishes photos of the national event.
This season McCooey keenly looked forward to a 5-pin bowling tournament in Courtenay.
“He loves to travel to competitions,” his father says. “He’s a pretty social guy. He knows so many people. People who own the bowling alleys know him pretty well.”
Larry McCooey thrives on the social aspect of Special Olympics, attending mixers and even performing in a play SOBC – Comox Valley put on a few years ago.
“Whenever they have dances, he’s got to get all shined up and he’s got to be mister cool,” Leighton McCooey says.
Larry McCooey is a big hockey and football fan and decorates his room with Canucks emblems every season. He even gets to take in a few live games each year.
Part of McCooey’s busy lifestyle is working five days a week collecting paper for Journey’s recycling program. Afterwards he takes the bus home by himself.
Leighton McCooey couldn’t be happier about what Special Olympics has helped his son do.
“It’s great exercise for him, and the volunteers are great,” McCooey says. “All the programs are great and each program is something the athletes like and can do.”
– Special Olympics BC – Comox Valley