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'Mr. Bill's' Olympic feats inspire elementary school community [Rodgers Forge]

Bill Sinton — or Mr. Bill, as he's known to staff and students — has been a cafeteria assistant at Rodgers Forge Elementary School (RFES) for the past four years. He's also a Gold Medal Special Olympian.

Recently, Bill was interviewed on Today at RFES (or morning announcements as they were known when we were kids) at the school.

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Bill began his Olympic career 15 years ago, starting with track and field, but switching to swimming in 2003 when he decided he wasn't much of a fan of running. His favorite part of swimming?

"Getting wet!" He also notes that swimming is "good exercise and good, wet fun."

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The 46th Annual Maryland Special Olympics 2016 Summer Games were June 10-12 at Towson University. Fifteen hundred athletes (and 400 coaches) were poised for competition, and Mr. Bill was one of them, ready to go. When the water settled and the swim caps were off, Mr. Bill had won the gold in the 25-meter breaststroke! He also won a participation ribbon for the 50-meter breaststroke, placed fifth in the 50-meter freestyle, and sixth in the 4x25-meter freestyle team relay.

Breaststroke and freestyle are his favorite strokes and it shows in his honors, awards and the amount of time he spends in the pool (he trains every other day and on weekends). Not surprisingly, Bill has won gold before. In 2014, he traveled to Princeton University for the Special Olympics USA Games. During the one-week competition, he won a gold medal for the 50-yard breaststroke. His father and two brothers cheered for him from the stands that day, bursting with pride, his father teary-eyed and his brothers going "a little crazy" from the excitement.

Mr. Bill was the one athlete of his four-member team, the Blue Dolphins, selected for the USA Games. He says he is "deeply honored" to have participated in both the USA and Maryland Special Olympics. However, he has decided, at 59 years young, that it is time to hang up his towel and goggles. Knowing that the recent games at Towson would be his last Olympic competition made his win there particularly enormous and special.

When not competing or training, Mr. Bill can be found at RFES assisting students in the cafeteria with opening containers; helping students with napkins, straws and other forgotten items; wiping down tables after each class is finished eating; preparing the space for the next group; and conversing with the children during each lunch period.

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"Mr. Bill is a true inspiration to the students and staff of RFES," said school principal Missy Fanshaw. "Through him we have learned to embrace life's challenges, no matter what the obstacle."

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