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2 Investigators: Coach’s Mistake Costs Special Olympics Athlete

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Running enthusiast Ryan Baker, 13, has several medals from Special Olympics events. (CBS)

Running enthusiast Ryan Baker, 13, has several medals from Special Olympics events. (CBS)

Dave Savini Dave Savini
Award-winning Chicago journalist Dave Savini serves as investigative...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A Special Olympics Illinois coach made a mistake, and now an athlete is paying the price.

The teenage boy is not being allowed to go for the gold this weekend. CBS 2’s Dave Savini spoke with him and his family about their disappointment and the campaign they are starting to “Let Ryan Run”.

Running is 13-year-old Ryan Baker’s passion. He should be competing this weekend in the 100-meter race at the Special Olympics Illinois state competition.

He qualified at the regional, but his Special Olympics coach accidentally failed to turn in his score.

“It was a mistake,” says Amy Baker, Ryan’s mother.  “Everybody makes mistakes. The state headquarters has the ability to correct those mistakes.”

Baker says she’s upset Special Olympics officials refuse to fix the problem.

“It’s very disappointing. It’s upsetting,” says Amy Baker, who displayed numerous medals Ryan won in past races.

She says her son has worked hard and loves to compete and says it is unsportsmanlike to penalize Ryan for something he could not control. She says they need to make it right.

Ryan and his family are hoping the Special Olympics committee will make a last-minute decision and let him run in the race. For now, he has his entire family cheering him on as he continues to practice.

“I never dreamed the Special Olympics, an organization that serves individuals with special needs, would place this obstacle in front of him,” Amy Baker says.

After talking with CBS 2, the Special Olympics Illinois committee president said he will let Ryan run in a private race on the track prior to the real race.

They also will record his time. But even if Ryan has a winning time, he will not get a medal. His family bought one and will present it to him.