An Olympic experience in Walton County

By Shannon Schussler

Special Olympian Daniel Schussler with his Aunt Stacy Tomson with the Olympic Torch at 2024 Special Olympics. Photograph courtesy of Shannon Schussler

Walton Special Olympics welcomed an honored guest at their local games April 18, 2024 at Monroe Area High School Stadium. Special Olympian Daniel Schussler’s Aunt Stacy Tomson came from Dallas, TX to watch him compete. She gladly volunteered to help families sign in for the games and was score keeper during soccer. An additional, extra-special event was that Aunt Stacy ran with Daniel for the torch run.

What made this event a special one, was that Stacy Tomson had her own Olympic dreams when she competed as an elite gymnast in Houston, TX. Stacy trained with Béla and Marta Károlyi when they first arrived in the United States from Romania.  The same coaches of famed gymnasts Nadia Comăneci, Mary Lou Retton, and the late Dianne Durham .  Though Stacy did not compete in the Olympics, she went on to compete on the collegiate gymnastics teams for Southern Utah University (Cedar City, UT) and Texas Women’s University (Denton, TX) 1989-1992.  From Texas to Georgia, Olympic dreams come true in Walton County.

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