17-year-old Valerio Catoia won the Champion Stefano Battistelli Olympic swimming champion medal.
The teen, who has Down’s syndrome, received the medal along with a plate of courage and generosity from Luca Lotti – the Minister of Sports of Italy. The teen saved the life of a drowning child at the Sabaudia Beach.
Catoia started swimming when he was three as his family wanted him to develop muscle strength and endurance. He loved swimming and spent his life training and took part in the Special Olympics. He also trained to rescue people out of the sea.
Catoia’ s swimming skills helped him save the lives of two girls who were drowning in the ocean. The teen was enjoying some time with his family on Sabaudia Beach when the unexpected happened. He heard two girls crying out for help.
The ocean tides dragged the 10 and 14-year-old girls back into the sea as they attempted to get to the shore. Catoia and his dad dived into the water to rescue the girls.
The teen administered a lifesaving technique that he learned during a first-aid course. Word of his heroic act went viral and he was honored by the former prime minister and Italian Sports minister.