NEIU Student Wins Gold and Silver in Special Olympics


Photo Provided by Matthew Gorski

Leslie Lozada, Editor in Chief

The Special Olympics in Illinois offers over 30,000 participants a chance to compete in 18 sports. One of the 13 state sports competitions offered each year, the 2023 Winter games, which are held in Galena, Illinois, had two championship-level competitions for alpine skiing and snowshoeing. One undergraduate student from NEIU, Matthew Gorski, took home the gold and the silver.


Gorski, 22 years old, has been at NEIU for four years as a full-time student. Gorski has been involved with the Special Olympics for eight years. He joined the Amundsen Vikings Special Olympics team at Amundsen High School during his freshman year, with three other freshmen at the time, until he graduated. Snowshoeing and skiing were two of the sports that he participated in during his time there. To this day, he still talks to his former teammates, who he has grown close to during their time competing.


“What led me to decide to get into sports is the internal drive that athletes show on the field when they’re competing or practicing to improve on the sports that they do,” Gorski said in an interview with the Independent. “Also, I’m the type of person that loves to be outside, active and not sitting inside all day.”


Gorski won first place in the 400M Snowshoe race and second place in the 800M Snowshoe Race. For readers that don’t know much about snowshoeing as a sport, Gorski defines it as “like running a mile in really big spikes, but not on the sideway.” 


He decided to compete in this specific sport due to the scheduling conflict regarding the skiing qualifiers that were supposed to happen this year.


During his time at NEIU, Gorski has been working towards getting a teaching license with the hopes of becoming a high school history teacher. Gorski is already involved with the History Club, having been with the student club for over two years.


Gorski still sees himself competing in future Special Olympics competitions. “The Special Olympics has changed my life in so many ways that have led me to do amazing things along the way. I would like to compete in the future so I can continue being active, strong, and healthy too.”


Every year, NEIU hosts the Floor Hockey standalone event at the Physical Education Complex. The last one was on Nov. 19, 2022. Current students that are interested in participating in the Special Olympics can check out the athlete form on the Special Olympics Illinois website.