PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – They say everyone fits in at Poff Elementary in the Hampton School District.
“We knew he was coming,” said fourth grade teacher Barb Landry. “It was just a matter of when, so the children would ask every day, ‘When is he coming? Do we know when he is coming?’ And they’ve been very, very excited about it.”
But Tuesday, it was a tight squeeze in Landry’s fourth grade class, as a gold medal paralympian came to school.
“We were training and practicing and trying to get better a day before the gold medal game, so yeah, our coach pushed us really tough and we woke up really early every day and the first few days it was kind of tough because of the jet lag and everything,” said sled hockey gold medalist Dan McCoy.
The 20-year-old and the USA won gold in sled hockey. He told the children about his sled and sticks, but they were most interested in the gear hanging around his neck.
“There’s some glass in here and there’s some etchings in the glass here,” McCoy said describing his medal.
Some of the children play hockey, just not on sleds.
“Actually, I was at Blade Runners where I had seen him and I just seen a kid skating around and I think it was him and he was doing pretty well,” said fourth grader Alex Broderick.
All year, the teachers and children followed McCoy’s progress and celebrated when the Americans won gold in Russia.
“Since it was mostly on Saturdays, we didn’t watch it with them, but they would come in and share their experiences at home that they had with their families too,” said Kendra Lapiana at Poff Elementary School.
Yes, Spina Bifida limits the use of McCoy’s legs, but it clearly hasn’t hurt his heart.
“Kind of enjoy having a disability, kind of having something that not a lot of other people and just being able to have a lot of people look up to me in that way,” McCoy said.