GREAT FALLS — Like many athletes with intellectual disabilities, Trevor Trainer uses the Special Olympics as a platform to compete, set and achieve goals and make friends.
His favorite thing about Special Olympics? Easy.
It’s the people.
“The coaches and staff and athletes, they keep me on my feet,” laughed Trevor.
But even the 23-year-old never dreamed of where the platform would take him next. In March, he’ll leave the North American continent for the first time in his life – travelling to Austria to represent his country at the Special Olympics world winter games.
They’ve got some pretty big mountains in Austria, right Trevor?
“The course is different than Showdown (ski area),” he admitted. “Looking forward to trying a different hill, as well.”
Trainer, along with SOMT sports director Scott Held and Whitefish athlete Cedar Vance recently traveled to Vermont to participate in the Team USA training camp. There, the affable Trevor made several new friends from around the country and learned techniques from some of the best coaches in the world.
“We have wonderful coaches at Special Olympics Montana,” Held explained. “But just like any other sport, you see coaches that can bring different viewpoints and they can catch something. One coach can train them to keep their center of balance. They pick that up and that’s something that can continue to help them as they go to Austria.”
Trainer will represent his country – but he also plans to represent a friend.
Colton Rohlf was a coach and unified partner for many Special Olympics athletes in Great Falls including Trevor.
He passed away in car crash in March.
“So I’m going to represent him, carry his legacy on and all the support that I’ve got as well as friends,” Trainer said of honoring Rohlf. “They’re going to be with me as well.”
Trevor is shooting for a gold medal – two, in fact – one for himself, and one for Colton’s family.
“I look forward to getting a least a gold medal – if I can get another one I’ll see if I can give it to (Colton’s parents) Tim and Heather Rohlf to put on their wall,” he said.
Trevor paused as he thought about his old friend: “As I look at it, he’s looking down at me and saying he’s proud of me.”
With the memory of Colton in his heart, and the support of an entire state and country behind him – there’s no telling what all Trevor might accomplish at the world games.
“Austria,” he said, “watch out here we come!”
Look out, world.