by David Harris
When you think of famous Olympians, names sprint to the front of your mind like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Nastia Lukins.
Now, add senior Tony Kurzy to that list of competitors.
Kurzy represented the United States and Houston in the 2013 World Dwarf Games hosted by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.
The 2013 World Dwarf Games was the largest sporting event exclusively for dwarf athletes.
This summer, 395 dwarf athletes from 17 different countries participated in 17 different sports.
Anyone who satisfies the definition of Dwarfism and is less than 4 feet 10 inches tall is eligible to participate in the games.
Kurzy and his family flew to Michigan for a week and checked in on Friday, Aug. 2, to participate in shooting and floor hockey.
“I have been playing hockey and shooting ever since first grade,” Kurzy said. “I practiced on Saturday and Sunday then competed the next Monday.”
Kurzy participated in shooting first.
The competition consists of five practice shots at the target followed by 20 real shots with an air pistol. He found great success in the competition, placing fourth out of 52 competitors.
He narrowly missed the bronze medal by one point, only to be beaten by two other Americans and a Frenchman.
“I scored a 162 out of 200, which is very good for me,” Kurzy said.
After shooting came floor hockey. There were six US teams, two Canadian teams, two British teams and two Australian teams.
Each team consisted of six players with a goalkeeper and five field players on a 35 feet by 75 feet court. The hockey round robin took place on Friday, Aug. 9.
“I played center and goalie, and my teammates were from all over the U.S.” Kurzy said. “My favorite memory was when I was playing center and I shoved the other center and took the puck.”
Unfortunately Kurzy’s team did not place after they were beaten by two very good U.S. teams.
Kurzy made many new friends and had a great time.
“Most of the friends I made were my teammates and other USA players,” Kurzy said. “I knew two guys from Houston but the rest were from all over the U.S.”
The best part about the trip was the experience of playing in a world event and, of course, the uniforms.
“We got really cool USA jackets with blue pants and jerseys,” Kurzy said. “It was like the real Olympics for me.”
The experience was also very different for Kurzy because it was the first time he competed with other dwarf athletes. “It was really nice to be able to see everybody and to be the same height.” Kurzy said. “It kind of felt like I was average.”
In the future, Kurzy hopes to play in the 2017 World Dwarf Games in Australia and possibly the paralympic games.