Only a few years ago
Tucker Boyce was terrified of the water.
Now he is an Olympic medal-winning swimmer.
“He was terrified when you put him in
the water he would yell and kick,” said his
mother Judi Boyce. Now daily laps in the
pool are part of his morning routine.
That daily practice has brought him home
the gold – as well as the silver and bronze –
Most recently, during the May 10 State
Special Summer Olympics in Laramie,
Tucker received more than the gold. He received
a trophy – nearly as tall as he is – for
being the most inspirational athlete for the
state of Wyoming.
Sublette County Special Olympics Coordinator
Gayle Hamner said Tucker was chosen
for the honor after his participation for
the past three years in Special Olympics.
“He has worked very hard to improve his
time in each event,” Hamner said. “This year
I put him in longer events. He competes with
a smile no matter how he finishes.”
And, it’s not just swimming. Tucker competes
in cycling and skiing events during the
Tucker, 10, has high functioning autism.
Easy to talk with, he also becomes fixated.
During the Pinedale Clean-up Day, most
people were looking for trash including
bottles, cans, car parts, etc. A bingo game
given to volunteers listed “money” as a
box to be marked off. Tucker’s focus became
looking for money.
“We’ve got to find some money,” Tucker
said, slightly disappointed over the bags of
trash his team accumulated.
Just like his focus on money during the
clean-up, Tucker’s focus in Special Olympics
is bringing home the gold.
Tucker said he keeps his gold, silver and
bronze medals in a safe. His mother confirms
he has a locked treasure chest complete with
his own code to protect his stash of medals.
For now, they’ve been placed in the family’s
living room in a display built by Tucker’s
older brother Nick.
“Special Olympics has made the difference
between night and day,” Judi Boyce
said. “He has come so far.”
Corey Trujillo has been Tucker’s swim
therapy teacher since kindergarten with
morning swims before school. Hamner has
helped Tucker train in cycling and skiing.
Tucker also participates in the MESA therapeutic
horse riding program.
A fourth-grader at Pinedale Elementary
School, Tucker also has individual time with
special education instructors.
While competing is important, more important
is the support he receives from his
family, coaches and classmates.
“They made me a card telling me to do
good,” Tucker said of his classmates, while
wearing a huge smile.