2012-08-31 / Sports

Special Olympian Continues His Love Of Sports

By Elio Velez

Michael Burg wears the medals he has earned. Michael Burg wears the medals he has earned. Michael Burg has never let anything stop him from participating in his passion – competing in sports.

Burg, a 37-year-old resident, has won as many as 100 medals in a variety of Special Olympian sports from swimming, softball, track and field to bowling. During this summer, Burg traveled to an event in Niagara Falls where he came away with a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle swimming, silver in the 50-meter freestyle and a participation medal in the 50-meter relay.

Burg, who currently works at Queens Extensive Care in Woodside, has won more medals than he could count, or his father, Marvin Jonathan Burg, can remember.

“I started when I was 13 in the Special Olympics. I was running in track since school. I do bowling, floor hockey and right now I’m doing softball,” Michael Burg said.

“I like it. It’s more fun. You see other people and celebrities.”

Growing up only minutes away from the beach, Michael Burg felt it was only natural to become a swimmer. The first medal Burg can remember is the Special Olympics gold medal he won in the 25-meter freestyle swimming event as a teenager.

“{It’s] because I live near the beach, I grew up with that,” Burg said. It takes a lot of practice and heart. It’s good sportsmanship to do it.”

Marvin Burg is proud of his son’s drive and passion when it comes to competing. He marvels at the number of medals, which to his amazement have begun to pile up all around the house.

“He’s won so many, it feels like its routine,” The elder Burg said. “It’s like an every day experience. He not only excels in those areas, he has tremendous computer skills.”

Marvin was more than impressed when his son had his high school graduation from the Lowell School, a program located in Flushing that specializes in teaching children who are learning disabled, speech impaired, or emotionally disturbed.

Michael excelled by learning computers and the hard work paid off with a school computer award that made his father a very happy man.

“When I attended his graduation, I was amazed,” Marvin Burg said. “The chairperson of the department came up and said the possibility of winning this computer award is like me winning the lottery. I said wow; he must be a very bright student.”

Michael Burg says he will play softball and bowling this fall, and will keep in shape to swim for next year. He loves his job working as a counselor during the summer and at Queens Extensive Care, where he helps transport patients to their appointments in Woodside. There is a joy he wants to continue feeling when it comes to being a Special Olympian.

“There is a lot of things I like. It makes me feel good,” Michael said. “It makes me feel energetic about it. It makes me feel happy.”

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