by Jay Young
July 16, 2015
Goold’s Golden Chance
He may not have known so at the time, but the Special Olympics would go on to afford Goold opportunities that never could have imagined.
“I was at Brockport when I was in college,” recalled Goold. “It was the first World Games and it was held at Brockport, so that was kind of small in scale and I just worked as a volunteer there over the weekend.”
The scale of the Special Olympics has grown exponentially from those early days Goold spent volunteering, and it was in 1991 that he first had an opportunity to serve in a coaching position.
“I got to go to Minneapolis in 1991 as a track and field coach with the New York State contingent, and then I went to New Haven to do the same thing at Yale in ’95,” he recalled last week. “In 2003, I was with USA Powerlifting in Ireland, so we were there for 16 days with the World Games.”
It was during his time coaching in Ireland that Goold first realized the kinds of doors that working for the Special Olympics had opened for him.
While walking to an event with a young power-lifter named Natasha, Goold was stopped for an impromptu meeting – with a guest who knows a thing or two about competition.
“We were at the Olympic Village one day,” Goold said, and a golf cart pulls up and a guy says, “Are you with Natasha?’ I said ‘Yeah, and he said ‘We’d like to take you to lunch today. The champ is going to meet a few kids for lunch’”
“So they put us in a golf cart, whisked us off to this big tent and who is sitting there but Muhammed Ali. How would that ever happen to me? How would I ever have a chance to have lunch with Muhammed Ali, but the Special Olympics opened that door.”
The doors have continued to open up for Goold, who applied for positions at the upcoming 2015 Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles while wintering in Huntington Beach.
“I met some friends up there who were involved in Orange County Special Olympics,” Goold mentioned. “So I applied for positions and I was selected. I’m going to work in at the LA Convention Center, which is pretty cool. The convention center is between The Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre.”
While Goold has served as a coach and as a volunteer, this will be the first time that he will hold the title of staging supervisor for the World Games, which will be held from July 25-Aug. 2 and feature 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries.
“We’re going to be in the convention center where they have powerlifting, roller skating, badminton and a few other things. (The organizers) knew I was an athletic director so I am going to be what they call a staging supervisor.” Goold said. “So I’ll be in charge of a number of volunteers, coordinating, so it will be a new job for me.”
One thing that Goold has come to learn about the World Games is that the events come with all the pageantry, emotion and epic staging that fans expect to see for the Olympic Games – and that atmosphere will only be emphasized with the staging for the 2015 World Games.
“The aquatics are going to be at USC, the track and field is at UCLA, the sailing is down in Long Beach, so the (competition) is all through the LA basin. Hopefully, the days that I have down time, I want to get over to USC to watch some of the swimming,” Goold said.
Goold will spend five days supervising the power-lifting venue and will move around to different staging areas on his final day of work, and will be joined by his wife on the journey.