Trent Paradis at the Bates College track in Lewiston on Thursday. Paradis, who lives in Lewiston and grew up in Jay, competed for Team USA in the 100-meter dash and shot put at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany in June. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

After 30 years of competing in the Special Olympics, Trent Paradis reached the world stage in June.

Paradis, 36, who grew up in Jay and now lives in Lewiston, took part the 100-meter dash and shot put at the Special Olympics World Games from June 17-25 in Berlin, Germany.

“It was so awesome,” Paradis said.

Paradis, who has Down syndrome, won medals in the 100 meter and shot put at the State Summer Games at the University of Maine in June 2022, making him eligible to apply to be a member of Team USA for the World Games. In September, he received his invitation to join Team USA.

Paradis has been competing in Special Olympics since he was 6. His mother, Cyndy Paradis, said Trent has had friends compete at the World Games, which drove him to do the same.

“He has applied a couple of different times,” Cyndy said. “He has seen other people he knows go, and he was interviewed by a German TV station, and what he said: ‘That was my dream.’ It was one of those things he had heard about and saw people there. He really wanted to do that. He wanted to see someplace new. He wanted to be a part of that kind of a team.”


He did compete — in unified golf, his favorite sport — in the Special Olympics USA Games once, in 2010 in Nebraska.

Trent Paradis had simple reasons for why he wanted to compete on the world stage.

“To make new friends, be on new teams and try new foods,” Trent said.

Trent Paradis, center, and his parents, Cyndy, left and Richard, at the Bates College track recently. Trent competed at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany last month. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal) Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Trent said he especially enjoyed the taste of German bacon during his stay. He saw an old friend at the World Games, Dwayne Hall, his unified golf playing partner from the USA Games in 2010. Hall is from Veazie and was in Berlin coaching Team USA’s bowling team.

Paradis arrived in Germany on June 10 and, for the first few days, he did some sightseeing in Bremen with a host family. Breman is the 11th largest city in Germany. It is four hours west of Berlin and is home to many galleries and museums.

Trent appreciated the structures in Germany.


“Statues, old buildings, and old stuff I like,” he said. “And the churches, too.”

Once he he arrived in Berlin, Paradis focused on practicing for the 100-meter dash and shot put. Athletes are in divisions with other competitors with similar abilities. Before arriving in Germany, he did a lot of practicing with his parents at home. They worked on the shot put in the snow and also used the Bates College track to train.

Paradis reached the finals of the Level D MO2 shot put after qualifying throws of 4.78 meters in the quarterfinals and 4.16 meters in the semifinals. In the finals, he finished fifth after a throw of 4.21 meters.

Trent made it to the Level C M-Final Plus 100-meter dash finals after running a time of 22.07 seconds in the semifinals. He came in sixth with a time of 23.80 in the final.

Paradis also captained Team USA’s MO2 4×100 relay team, which finished sixth in the final with a time of 1:38.35. Trent said it felt good being the relay team’s captain.

He said there were nerves from battling against athletes from around the globe and people watching the events.


“There was, but I managed,” Trent said.

Cyndy and her husband and Trent’s father, Richard, also enjoyed the international experience.

“In Germany, it was very amazing; there were people from all different countries, all but three countries were represented,” Cyndy said. “There were 7,000 athletes and all kinds of different people from different cultures and things like that.

“(Richard) is a coach, and he does unified golf, so we have always kind of been very involved in Special Olympics, both as parents and (coaches). You build relationships with people and parents along the way, which is always fun.”

Cyndy, who is a special education teacher, also coached Trent when he was younger.

The opening ceremony was at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, which hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics, but the events happened on a track and field outside the stadium.

Cyndy said that she knew from watching Trent that he enjoyed the World Games.

“It was amazing to see the smile on his face, that in of itself was worth it,” Cyndy said. “He was trying his hardest, and that smile, it was there.”

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