News 12 First at Five / Thursday, July 5, 2012
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- It's an honor only a few Americans receive, and now, one Grovetown man is getting the opportunity for the second time.
Competing in the Paralympic Games is a dream for many athletes, and Scott Winkler will be heading to his second Paralympics this summer.
"I still can't grasp the concept of the whole thing. It's like, wow. It hasn't all sunk in yet," Winkler said.
He qualified this week to compete in the Paralympics in London, throwing shot put.
Winkler is determined to be on the podium this year, saying, "I want those medals. And I want to bring them back to the U.S. I love my country. I bleed red, white and blue, and so there's nothing that can stop me. So I'm going over for business."
But this isn't Winkler's first trip to the Paralympics. He competed in Bejing back in 2008.
"I competed in the shot put and I finished fifth out of 17th in a combined class," he explained.
Winkler says it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he'll now experience twice.
"Being a soldier, and now from the battlefield on to the athletic field ... it gives me a great honor to wear my uniform again for my country," he said.
The training has been intense.
"Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I'm with my trainer Randy Taylor at Fort Gordon," Winkler explained.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he works out with his throw coach, Brandi, who is also his wife.
Throwing shot put typically requires a lot of leg strength, core strength and upper body strength, but Winkler is paralyzed from the chest down from a war injury in Iraq.
"My diaphragm muscle is considered an ab, so I have to throw against everybody who has full abs. So, I'm like the underdog in the throwing field," he said.
But that hasn't slowed him down.
"In Indiana, I broke the American record again, so it helped me qualify for London," Winkler said.
And this time, he says he's going all the way.
"I live by my motto. If you believe, you can achieve," Winkler said.
Winkler usually throws around 11 meters, and he says he couldn't have made it all happen without the help from his coaches out at Fort Gordon, and the support from the community.