Maddie Csont Interviews Tommy Mooney

An Article by Maddie Csont, Genesee Region Athlete and Statewide Leadership Council Alum

“I pick things up and put things down.”

That’s Special Olympics New York athlete Tommy Mooney’s explanation of his favorite sport. However, if you’ve met him, you know–like I do–that he does a lot more than that.

The reason I decided to interview Tommy is first, because I had the privilege of going to Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando with him, and second, because I’m amazed at everything he does and how well he cheers his teammates on.

Tommy has been participating in Special Olympics for 27 years, competing primarily in the sport of Powerlifting. His favorite thing about Special Olympics is making new friends and, of course, competition.

He got involved in Special Olympics when his mom, who was also his coach, wanted him to compete more and do his best at everything he does.

The person Tommy looks up to most is his coach, Chris Hughes. Tommy looks up to Chris because he encourages him to workout more. Chris also helps him make healthy choices and exercise. Tommy was overweight and wanted to make a change, and he did in fact lose 70 lbs. He also wanted to gain more muscle and, of course, talk to girls.

This past June at USA Games, Tommy brought home four medals in Powerlifting: two gold and two silver. The golds were from the overall competition as well as the deadlift, and the silvers were from the bench press and squats.

Before Tommy competed, Coach Chris told him to let all his emotions out and just be himself. Tommy was overwhelmed, when he found out he had won the gold medals, he was thrilled. He went over and hugged his coach, and jumped up and down with joy. Tommy’s mom and dad were there, too, and they were so proud of him for never giving up. He said to himself, “I can do this,” and it paid off!

Some fun facts about Tommy:

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked out every day, spent time with family, and cooked as well.
  • His favorite part of USA Games was competing with other athletes from all 50 states (and visiting Disney World).
  • He loves to travel. He has been to Ireland, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Myrtle Beach.
  • His older brother got engaged in Ireland and Tommy was the best man.
  • He is a proud Uncle to his nephews Jack and Finn.

Thanks so much to Tommy for the interview!