Olympic medalist goes into battle for Special Olympics
23 August 2022
Olympic medalist Dylan Schmidt will be battling to win $100,000 for Special Olympics New Zealand on the next edition of Celebrity Treasure Island, which launches on TVNZ 2 in the coming weeks.
“I want to help to give people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play sport and to compete against each other, just like I have done in my sporting career,” says the star trampolinist who claimed a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games amongst a host of national and international trophies.
The 25-year-old has had a strong connection with people with intellectual disabilities since an early age through his mother Jen, who has been working in the special needs sector for most of her life.
“So I have been part of that world since I was young and later started volunteering at some events where I would get people to try out the trampoline. It has always been really rewarding to get involved and I love to put a smile on their faces,” says Schmidt.
“They really get into it and most times the hardest thing is to get them off the trampoline. Maybe they should add trampolining as one of the sports at Special Olympics,” smiles the double Olympian who was the first New Zealand trampolinist to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Schmidt is one of 21 celebrity castaways for the next Celebrity Treasure Island including former All Black Ron Cribb, comedian Mike King, former squash world champion Dame Susan Devoy, professional dancer Elvis Lopeti and sports broadcaster Melodie Robinson.
The Auckland athlete is keeping tight-lipped on what happened on the set, but says he loved competing against the other celebrities and made some great new friends during filming.
“You will just have to watch the programme, and I am sure the viewers will enjoy it. We had great fun filming it and I think the audience will have fun watching us slog it out.”
Schmidt started competing on the trampoline at age five and followed in the shoes of older siblings Callum and Rachel who also competed at international level.
He is currently preparing to compete at the World Championships in Bulgaria in November where is aiming for the title, “but at least a spot on the podium”.
Schmidt hopes to be back in New Zealand to attend the Freemasons New Zealand Special Olympics National Summer Games in Hamilton on December 8-12.
“I am really looking forward to watching the athletes compete the different sports and support them in whatever way I can.”