St. Paul Police employee brings home gold medal after Special Olympics

St. Paul police employee brings home gold medal after Special Olympics

St. Paul police employee brings home gold medal after Special Olympics

A Special Olympics athlete is now back home in Minnesota after winning a gold medal at the World Games in Germany.

Matthew Krohn, a 27-year-old from Inver Grove Heights, was one of two Minnesotans representing Team USA.

Krohn competed in three swimming events, taking first place in the 25-meter backstroke.

“Oh, I was smiling so big,” Krohn said. “I felt good. I felt so good.”

The Special Olympics Summer World Games take place every four years.

This year’s event in Berlin featured nearly 7,000 athletes from 126 countries, drawing nearly 300,000 spectators.

“To actually be there and see this all happening, it’s quite overwhelming,” said Matthew’s father Curt Krohn. “I went from cheering and yelling, screaming, ‘Go, go!’ And then at the awards ceremony, when they hung the medal, then the waterworks started.”

Curt Krohn said Matthew suffered infantile spasms as a baby and was diagnosed with autism around the age of four.

“I mean we didn’t know if he was going to walk or talk at the beginning and now here he is. He’s a Special Olympic gold medalist,” Curt Krohn said. “It’s a very proud time for us.”

Matthew Krohn has competed with Special Olympics Minnesota since the age of eight.

He also works as a janitor at St. Paul Police Department, through the non-profit Lifeworks.

“He makes my day. He’s always smiling and happy to see everyone,” said Sgt. Colleen Rooney. “The whole department considers him family.”

St. Paul Police Department gave Krohn a police escort to the airport when he left for Berlin two and a half weeks ago.

The officers also tracked every update as he competed at the Games.

“We were all so excited. Emails were blowing up, phones were blowing up,” Rooney said. “We have a lot of celebrations for him and some surprises coming.”

Tiffany Carey of Minneapolis was the other Minnesotan to compete for Team USA this year in several gymnastics events.

Carey took home a gold medal in the all-around competition, a silver on the uneven bars and bronze in both floor and vault.

A spokesperson for Special Olympics Minnesota provided 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS with this statement:

“We are so proud of Matt and Tiffany for representing Minnesota so well on the world stage in Berlin! They are both incredible athletes and wonderful ambassadors for our movement.”

Special Olympics Minnesota

Matthew Krohn said becoming a world champion for Special Olympics is something he will never forget.

“I’ll remember all of it. I have a really good memory,” Matthew Krohn said. “I was cheering, ‘Team USA! Gold medalist!’ And people were really happy.”

He plans to frame his gold medal to hang on the wall of his home.

Curt Krohn said being at the Special Olympics World Games was an inspiring experience.

“There were athletes there, even when they finished in eighth place, they celebrated like they were in first,” Curt Krohn said. “They gave it their all. And that’s the motto: ‘If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ And they most certainly were brave. We can all learn from them.”

You can find more information about Special Olympics Minnesota here and the World Games here.