How Thomas Shimoda Skates Past Adversity

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Thomas is fast on the ice-- really fast. At 24 years old, he has put many struggles behind him.

As a child, Thomas was evaluated at St. Xavier University and his parents learned he would not be verbal. He's had speech therapy for decades, but then 14 years ago, his parents invested in a voice output device to help him communicate.

His first “talker” went around his neck and weighed seven pounds. While it allowed Thomas to communicate, it impeded his mobility. Four years ago, Thomas got a new device that is the size of a smartphone and more portable. It has provided Thomas a new freedom.

He's a graduate of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. He also volunteers – and event assistant coaches from time to time -- at the Mt. Greenwood Park District where he competes. At USA Training Camp, his 2017 teammates quickly adapted to his way of communicating. Thomas did well at World Games in Austria, earning bronze in the 777M and gold in the 500M.

Tommy Shimoda received his Honorary ESPY award.