Valerio Katoya, born with Down syndrome, was introduced to swimming at the age of three by his parents as a way to improve his strength and endurance.
Through dedication and hard work, Valerio not only learned to swim but also achieved success in the sport, even participating in the Olympics.
One day, while on a beach vacation in Lazio, Italy with his father and younger sister, Valerio and his family heard screams for help.
Two young girls, ages 10 and 14, were trapped in the water and struggling against the waves and currents.
Without hesitation, Valerio and his father jumped into the water to save the children.
Valerio’s father grabbed the 14-year-old girl while Valerio rescued the 10-year-old.
Being an experienced swimmer and Olympian, Valerio knew to keep the girl above water to prevent her from suffocating.
They pulled the girls to shore just as rescuers arrived.
Valerio’s courageous act did not go unnoticed.
The Minister of Sports of Italy recognized his bravery and awarded him a medal for his courage and sports skills.
His parents were proud of him and his story served as an inspiration to people with disabilities. Valerio Katoya is truly a hero.