Special Olympian heads to national games

Jun. 02, 2014 @ 05:11 PM

You could call Richard Kreiselman III a man for all seasons.

The Special Olympian from Durham has won medals in so many sporting events that he’s lost count.
But Kreiselman has narrowed his focus these days to one sport -- golf. He’s one of only two people from North Carolina who will compete in golf later this month with the Special Olympics Team NC at the 2014 USA Games in Princeton, N.J.
Kreiselman, 34, will represent Durham County, joining 3,500 other athletes across the United States in a wide variety of competitive games.
He’s honed his golfing skills since he was 14, and was practicing Monday afternoon at his favorite place -- Hillandale Golf Course, where he finds strong support and a warm welcome.
“I like golf because it’s fun and competitive,” he said. “You have to keep your eye on the ball and swing the club good. Sometimes you get frustrated and lose balls. You’ve got to focus.”
Kreiselman has focused on athletics for 20 years, excelling at basketball, track and field, and horseback riding, in addition to golf.
“I grew up a sports fan,” he said. “I like watching the pros on TV. I watch them and then try to do what they did.”
In addition to participating in Durham’s Special Olympics games, Kreiselman competed in track and field at the 2006 National Games in Ames, Iowa.
“I’ve learned about teamwork, respect for self and others, and pride in being my best,” he said.
The Special Olympics motto is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” That’s Kreiselman’s philosophy, too.
“If I don’t win, at least I made an attempt,” he said. “If you don’t win, you don’t win. But you have fun.”
One person who may be having as much fun as Kreiselman is his father, Rick, who is his son’s coach and caddie. He’ll accompany Richard to the games June 14-21 and be with him every step of the way.
“I really love the fact that he’s out there competing and having fun,” the 65-year-old retired computer software designer said. “To see him accomplish things and hit the ball better is what I like.”
He also loves the spirit of the games.
“You don’t find any mean-spirited athletes,” he said. “If they’re not doing well, they’re rooting for the other one. I’ve watched that hundreds of times, and it’s just unbelievable. And the emotion they have when they do well -- it just comes pouring out. That’s really gratifying.”

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More information is available at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/RichardKreiselman/teamNC