Man with Down syndrome earns 80 medals in Special Olympics

Hickory man wins 80 medals

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - There's no more space in Greg Brunt's room for all the medals he's earned at swimming events over the past 30 years in the Special Olympics. The 53-year-old Hickory man was born with Down syndrome. Not long after he was born, his sisters started teaching him how to swim.

"I just go down there and do your best," Greg says about his endeavors in the pool.

Greg has a way of being humble… he doesn't readily mention just how best his best is. In his years of competitive swimming, he's earned more than 50 gold medals. The rest add up to somewhere near 80, but his step-father readily admits, they may have lost count.

"The last several years since he's getting past 50, his medal counts went down to about 2 golds a year," Doug Metz said with a laugh. Everybody has a biggest fan, Doug Metz is Greg's.

Here's the part of the story that has nothing to do with a swimming pool, and everything to do with heart.

Greg's real dad died years ago, his mother married Doug. Two years ago, she passed away - leaving behind her only son that needed constant care and support. And, leaving him to one heck of a man who stepped up to do it.

"I certainly didn't know anything about Down syndrome until I got involved with Greg. It's probably the best thing that's ever happened to me. Made me realize that people like that need to lead a normal life," Doug said.

Doug said he grew much closer to Greg when Greg's mother had a severe stroke more than 17 years ago. Every single day the two of them went to the nursing home to see her.

Doug is proud to call Greg his son. Greg is just as proud to call Doug, "Daddy."

Or, as Greg put it, "He's my best daddy and my step daddy."

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