Special Olympics: Athlete Riley Blatz - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Special Olympics: Athlete Riley Blatz

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As a track athlete, you get to love these lanes. Riley Blatz spends hours on this track. He loves it, but says he really enjoys a more natural view.

"I usually get up first thing in the morning on Saturday morning and see the sun rise and run seven miles around the Town Lake Austin and gets me to practice so I can get ready for nationals," Riley said.

He and his dad, Ken, are running buddies. He says Riley is involved in other events like aquatics, basketball, bowling and even theatre. But right now his mind is on winning the gold at the 2014 Special Olympics USA games.

"He's got good distance, good endurance. He’s done pretty well in some of the races we've done. Some cap 10ks, some of the Chuy's runs, some of the other ones and he's usually done fairly well. I think even won his age category once or twice," Ken said.

Riley will be one of the nearly 3,500 athletes competing in 14 Olympic-style sports at the USA games in New Jersey. Ken says Riley is always talking about it and has been counting down the days. But he hasn't been training by himself.

"I'm probably one of his biggest supporters," said Jeanette Pratz, one of Riley’s coaches.

Coach Pratz and Riley meet once a week. During that practice Riley will improve his 800, his 100s, as well as his long jump and his shot putt.

Coach Pratz says Riley is up there with the best of them and loves the feeling she gets when she sees him reach his goals.

"I'm yelling and screaming and I lose my voice and I cry and every emotion I have just like a parent. I'm just as proud," Coach Pratz said.

Even though all the competitors have their eye on the gold, Riley's dad enjoys the comradely seen in Special Olympics.

"The kids are so much encouraging each other and yeah they want to compete but they kind of after a few seconds they kind of put it aside and they're cheering on their team mates and everyone else and whether you got first or a competitor ribbon it doesn't really matter," Ken said.

And experience Riley is just pumped to be a part of.

"Running makes me so excited because it’s a cool experience is fun and you get to see a lot of good beautiful stuff and you get to compete too," Riley said.

The 2014 Special Olympics USA games begin on June 14.

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