When Special Olympian Taylor Redmond competes, he gives everything he’s got and he is thankful to those who have supported him over the years and shown him he’s got what it takes.
“My parents have been my best friends forever,” said Taylor. “I love it when they help me to learn new things.”
Taylor, 27, is the only child of Steve and Barb Redmond and for more than 15 years they have supported him as an athlete, fundraiser and ambassador for the Special Olympics.
“Taylor inspires us every day with the way he faces the world, fearless and with a big smile on his face,” said Steve Redmond. “He goes out and tries to spread the message. He has a visible disability but he can fluently speak about this and that impresses and inspires people.”
Taylor co-hosts a radio show on University of Guelph radio station CFRU 93.3 where he loves to meet and interview other athletes and sports personalities.
When GuelphToday last checked in with him in March 2018 he had just completed an interview with one of his heroes.
“I got to interview Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry,” he said. “It was pretty exciting and I kind of liked it when he said I looked good. We were getting ready to start the interview and he said, ‘I must say you are looking good Taylor.’
A video of the interview, produced by the Taylor Vision Team, is posted on his BossTaylorRedmond, YouTube channel along with several other interviews with sports celebrities and athletes.
Taylor has become a celebrity athlete in his own right competing and frequently winning in his favourite sports, basketball, track and field, swimming and bowling.
He brought home four gold medals in track and field during the Peel Provincial Summer Games in 2017 and that qualified him to compete in the 2018 National Games in Nova Scotia.
“I won two bronze medals in track and field at the Nationals in Nova Scotia for shot put and the 50 metre,” said Taylor. “Mom and dad were there to cheer me on.”
Taylor has amassed a healthy collection of medals over the years and has become a role model to many young people with disabilities as well as able bodied people.
In 2016 Taylor was invited to Queen’s Park where he was presented with the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
“This one here is the one we, as parents, are the most proud of,” said Steve. “That is the highest youth volunteer under 25 award you can receive in the province. There were 10 recipients and two with disabilities. The other eight were able bodied. That was for his volunteer work with Special Olympics, with Motion Ball, in the local community and at the University of Guelph.”
A nomination letter submitted by Paul Etherington, chairman and co-founder of Motionball for the Special Olympics reflected on why Taylor deserved the medal.
“Taylor has never let his disability slow him down – quite the opposite in fact,” Etherington wrote. “I feel blessed to have met Taylor and lucky to have him as both a friend and a mentor. I can’t think of anyone more deserving for this prestigious Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers than him.”
Taylor was selected the 2018 Motion Ball Honorary Athlete in recognition of his contributions to the Special Olympics and this year he received yet another prestigious award.
“Taylor was a recipient of the 50th Medallion Award in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics, “ said Steve.
On Special Olympics Day, March 25, 2019, 50 athletes representing 50 communities across Canada were honoured.
“I went to the police station on Special Olympics Day,” said Taylor. “They gave me a medal and my dad won a medal too.”
The athletes were identified under four different categories Champion, Builder, Partner or Star.
“Taylor you have been chosen in the Champion category as you are a Special Olympics Ontario athlete who demonstrates dedication, leadership and loyalty while inspiring others,” said Glenn MacDonell, president and CEO Special Olympics Ontario.
Taylor could have easily been listed under any of the four categories given his tireless efforts as a public speaker, radio and video host, fundraiser and athlete. He has an exhausting list of accomplishments and an equally exhausting social calendar but he never misses a chance to promote opportunities for people with disabilities.
In May he competed with Team Laurier in the World Youth Games.
“Team Laurier were the first Unified College/University Provincial Basketball Champs,” said Steve. “Six of our Special Olympians played with four Laurier students and you had to have three Special Olympians and two able-bodies on the court at any time. There were two divisions with four teams in each and we ended up winning.”
Taylor has built a large extended family of fellow athletes, friends and fans who inspire him as much as he inspires them.
“We kind of nudge him a bit but we keep asking him if he wants to keep doing these interviews and all of this because it is a lot work,” said Steve. “He says yes I want to keep doing them.”
Taylor takes a lot joy from all he has accomplished and is quick to praise the two people who inspire him most.
“My dad and I have been sports nuts for a long time,” said Taylor. “Most importantly I love my dad and mom.”