When Valerio Katoya was three years old, his parents took him swimming as a way for him to build strength and endurance. He was born with Down syndrome.
Valerio not only learned to swim through hard work and dedication, but he also became successful in the sport and even competed in the Olympics.
Valerio and his family were enjoying a beach vacation in Lazio, Italy, with his father and younger sister when they heard screams for help one day.
Two 10- and 14-year-old girls were trapped in the water and battling the currents and waves. To save the children, Valerio and his father jumped into the water without hesitation.
While Valerio saved the 10-year-old, Valerio’s father grabbed the 14-year-old girl. Valerio, an Olympian, and the seasoned swimmer were aware of the need to keep the girl above water to prevent her from suffocating.
Just as rescuers arrived, they dragged the girls to the shore. The brave act of Valerio was noticed.
He received a medal for his bravery and athletic abilities from the Italian Minister of Sports. His story inspired people with disabilities and his parents were proud of him. A true hero is Valerio Katoya.