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CHUCK SHARES JOY OF HIS BIG DAY * BYLINE: Dale Huffman Dayton Daily News * DATE: April 28, 2004 * PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH) * EDITION: CITY * SECTION: LOCAL * PAGE: B1 # COLUMN: Dale Huffman Column After 18-year-old Chuck Lovell, a senior at Centerville High School, won the 400-meter dash during the Special Olympics competition at Welcome Stadium on Saturday he looked around to see if there were any reporters he could talk to. Later, he decided to share his accomplishment - what he calls the greatest day in his life. "It was just a wonderful occasion for about 600 athletes in the greater Dayton area," said Linda Connell of the Special Olympics staff. "Chuck was so happy that he won and we congratulated him. He'll now be competing in the State Special Olympics beginning June 25 at Ohio State University in Columbus." Chuck's coach, Art Komorowski, who helped train the Centerville team, said he picked Chuck up at his home at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to take him to the competition. "He was sitting there waiting on me and said he had been up since 5:30 a.m.," Komorowski said. "He was more than ready to go." Komorowski said he and his daughter, Lauren, 13, enjoy working with Chuck and the special athletes as they prepare for competition. "Chuck is a nice young man, and this was something really big in his life. We are so proud of him." The best way to tell the story is to let Chuck do it. This is a portion of his note: "Here is where my story gets cool. It was about 10 a.m. and they called me up to do the 400-meter dash because I'm fast. Well, all week I've been saying at practice, at school, at home that I'm gonna be number 1 and go to state. "When I lined up, I noticed my main opponent was from Valley View Special Olympics. Well, the way I am, I follow my own motto - you fight for your school pride and spirit and it's war. They shot the gun to start us and we were off. "This guy challenged me and I decided to take it to my best level, and that means sprinting. I was going faster, faster and he was behind me. The thought came to mind to slow down. Well, I didn't listen because I was taught at Centerville by the football coaches and team to take it to the 4th quarter. 'Well, that's exactly what I did. But I started to feel my heart beating faster and too fast so I was fighting my way. Then, boom, I crossed the finish line but passed out. The people there woke me up and then they said I won. I was happy." Coach Komorowski said there was concern at first when Chuck collapsed. "He got checked out and was OK. He had just pushed himself so hard. He was so excited. It was a pretty special thing that happened." Chuck continued his narration: "My coach and his daughter, Lauren, said I did good. I ran the 400-yard dash in 1 minute and 4 seconds. I completed my goal and I will go to the state. When they told me that I started to cry. "Sir, all my life I have been wanting to show the world who I really am. I played football for a while with our school team but didn't get a chance to get in the newspaper because I wasn't good enough. But, sir, I want you to let people know who I really am. Sir, I didn't care if I died on that track field on Saturday. I was just running for my school and my city. When I won I wanted someone to know." He added, "I thank my coach and my fellow team members. They supported me in this huge accomplishment and they know who they are. Sir, please let the world know who I am. I am not a typical boy. I am an athlete." Congratulations, Chuck. Good luck when you go to state. CHUCK HAS HIS GOLDEN MOMENT * BYLINE: Dale Huffman Dayton Daily News * DATE: June 30, 2004 * PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH) * EDITION: CITY * SECTION: LOCAL * PAGE: B2 # COLUMN: Dale Huffman Column Sometimes you are so happy, so excited, so pleased that you celebrate a major victory in your own way. That is what Chuck Lovell did. When he won first place and the gold medal in the 400-meter dash during the state of Ohio Special Olympics on Saturday at the Ohio State University athletic fields in Columbus, he just lay on the ground at the finish line, where he had collapsed. According to his coach, he lifted his head a bit, looked to the side and smiled, and then wiped a single tear of joy out of his eye. Some may remember that I introduced Chuck to you in April when he qualified for the state competition by winning the regional Special Olympics gold medal in the 400-meter dash at Welcome Stadium. Chuck, who is 18, and a graduate of Centerville High School said, at the time, he had been disappointed when he didn't see any reporters around to document his win, and he had contacted me with these memorable words: "Sir, I just want you to let people know who I really am. Sir, I didn't care if I died on that track field on Saturday. I was just running for my school and my city. And when I won I wanted someone to know. So, please sir, let the world know who I am. I am not a typical boy. I am an athlete." Chuck proved that once again Saturday when he competed in the 400-meter dash in his age group and ran it in one minute and three seconds, beating his own record by one second. "Chuck had been practicing and running on a regular basis since the regional competition," said his coach Art Komorowski, who with his daughter, Lauren, 13, helps train the Centerville team. "He had his heart set on winning the state gold, and he really was pushing himself in preparation." Komorowski said there were about 100 competitors from the Miami Valley at the state competitions, with four from his Centerville team participating. "It really is a win situation for all of them," he said. "Every single competitor brings home a ribbon. But Chuck is still pumped up and so excited because he set his goal on bringing home a gold medal, and he accomplished it in grand style." Chuck described the scene in this way: "Well, the announcer called my name to go on deck for the 400-meter dash, and I saw the people I was running against. I looked around at the competition and I took my place in lane 2. The guy shot the starting gun and I was off, and I started to sprint like I never had before." He continued, "I ran so hard because this was state and if I was going to beat my record, I wanted to do it on the race track that Jesse Owens ran on. Near the end of the race the defending champion was coming up on me and I took my speed a step further to where my chest and my heart were hurting. My vision was fading, too, but I said I was going to bring the gold home. I crossed the finish line and tried to stay on my feet, but I couldn't. I fell down and I was just there for a while, but I knew the greatest thing of all. I had won the gold." Chuck went to the library Monday to use the computer to send me an e-mail, which he so kindly ended in this way. "Sir, I waited all my life to let the world know who I really am. Now you have helped me do that. I dedicate my gold medal to all my fellow students at Centerville, to my coaches, and especially to you Mr. Huffman. I won this for you, too." It brought a tear to my eye.