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Special Olympics: Roman impresses family, friends

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By The Staff

Gold medalist Lucia Román, 10, daughter of Silvia and Jorge Román, is the epitome of what it means to demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with family, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.Lucia first became involved with Special Olympics New Mexico (SONM) three years ago. Her parents had found out about an active program in Los Alamos that offered sports to those with special needs.“We thought we would have her try it,” Silvia Román said. “She loves it, she loves being active.” From there, Lucia started with basketball and now competes in swimming, bowling and track as well. What sets Lucia apart from other Special Olympians is that while being at such a young age, she strives to do so much more in her life.“She watches her older sister and brother and sees what they’re doing and she wants to do it too,” Silvia Román said. “Her favorite words are ‘me too.’” Outside of sports, Jorge and Silvia Román, originally from Bolivia, have always been interested in the opera. Silvia Román would play classical music CDs for each of her three children Cristina, 14, Miguel, 13, and Lucia since they were very young.When Lucia was six years old the Románs decided to attend the Santa Fe Opera. Debating whether or not to take Lucia, they decided that if she didn’t like it, they would know better for the next time. To their liking, however, Lucia loved it.“She’s always loved classical music,” Silvia Román said. “I remember when she was two years old she couldn’t talk much and she kept saying Bach, Bach, and I couldn’t understand her, my son said mom she’s saying Bach, she wants to listen to music.”From there Lucia accompanied her family to Europe where they attended an opera in Austria, she also attended an opera camp last year during her spring break. The camp was for children ages 8-10 and its purpose was to encourage kids to enjoy the opera. During this camp, Lucia took part in a skit that the camp put on, titled “Miracle in the Desert,” where she played a snake.“She’s not fluent in English yet,” Silvia Román said. “She is coming along though in school, and I think her singing opera is helping her become more fluent, too.”Though she has a love for sports and opera, Lucia has many more hobbies. She plays two instruments, a piano that she has been learning to play for two years and she is in her school band where she plays the drums. While also being in the school choir, Lucia is an avid dancer as well. Though she doesn’t take classes anymore, she previously was involved in ballet and tap dance. This year, Lucia will be dancing in her school talent show to the “Cheetah Girls” song, “Do Your Own Thing,” which Lucia’s mom says “fits her perfectly.”Lucia’s involvement in SONM is valued, and it’s helping her endeavors outside of SONM, which are building her future to become a well-rounded and active individual who demonstrates courage, dignity and hope every day of her life.“I am so proud of her,” Silvia Román said. “She’s the light of my day. Sometimes it’s hard, she’s not always in the best of moods, and she challenges us everyday but it’s so rewarding. We want her to have many interests and we want her to be active.”