MONTICELLO – By being named to the Illinois bowling team to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida earlier this month, Monticello’s Todd Peddycoart had accomplished one of his lifetime goals.
His other goal was to win a gold medal, which he did, in doubles competition with his partner, Nico Techen of Winthrop Harbor. He also finished with a silver medal in the singles competition and the Illinois team, placed fourth.
“It was my first time going to Florida and my first time going to the USA Games and it was a blast,” Peddycoart said. “I had fun getting to know my teammates and competing.”
After opening ceremonies, Peddycoart, 27, bowled games of 190, 214 and 201 to place second in the singles division. On the fourth day of competition, he and Techen placed first to win gold.
“It was just so much fun to win, of course, but I had fun getting to know my teammates and getting to know other bowlers from other states,” he said. “I was able to bond with people from Haiti and Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. We actually got to bowl against a team from Aruba. That was so much fun.”
The 2013 Monticello High School graduate has been bowling since the sixth grade and is a member of the Piatt County Mental Health Center’s Golden Eagles bowling team.
“We couldn’t be more prouder of him and his accomplishments,” said Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director Tony Kirkman. “He has been a member of the Golden Eagles and every year is a great teammate and continues to develop his skills.”
Peddycoart qualified for consideration due to his three-game, 553 series at state in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the state games in 2020, then was one of one of 65 bowlers selected to compete at the USA Games.
“It is a really big experience for Todd,” Kirkman added. “We are really excited he got that opportunity. He was one of only four bowlers in the state of Illinois that was chosen to represent our state, so it’s a big deal, a really big deal.”
Peddycoart is a third generation bowler and says he has been bowling his whole life. He uses three, 15-pound balls in competition. Prior to the Games, he practiced hard by bowling and working on his footwork and consistency.
“I run to keep in shape and help with my endurance,” he said.
Special Olympics has changed his life.
“I’ve gotten to know all of my coaches and teammates as friends,” he said. I’ve learned to control my temper and stay within my role.”
“We are so proud of him and Monticello should be proud of him, too,” Kirkman added.
Peddycoart works at the Monticello McDonald’s where he does maintenance and works on the floor as a crew member.
Special Olympics supports over five million athletes, one million coaches and volunteers and holds more than 100,000 competitions each year with 32 Olympic-type sports in 170 countries. More than 5,500 athletes attended the Games in Orlando.
While not on the lanes, Peddycoart and the Illinois team did some sightseeing. They went to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs and various other spots in the region.
“That’s what I will remember, too,” he said. “We had so much fun going to those places.”
By the end of the trip though, Peddycoart was starting to feel sick. He missed most of the activities on Saturday, June 11. He was tired and had developed a cough.
“I felt better on Sunday, but I still had the cough,” he said.
When he returned to Illinois, he was tested for Covid.
The test came back positive.
“I’m feeling better now,” he said last week. “But, I wish I did not catch that. Still, I am so happy I got it after I competed because if I had tested positive before the competition, I would have been devastated.”