San Diego Athletes Find Friendship Through Special Olympics

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. – Kian Barzi and Troy Horton share a friendship that their bowling coach describes as “the yin and the yang.”

The San Diego athletes met through Special Olympics as soccer teammates three years ago. Kian, 13, is a bit more reserved while Troy, 17, will introduce himself to just about anyone, and they’ve each had an influence on the other.

“Sometimes Kian needs a little help coming out of his shell,” said their coach, Chesney Ballantyne. “Troy has been so social, helping Kian come out of that shell.

“They really balance each other out. They’re always looking out for each other.”

That extends beyond competition, too.

The night before last Saturday’s bowling championship at Fountain Bowl marked Kian’s first time away from his parents. Yet, it was Troy who looked to Kian for assistance as they were getting ready.

“He’s a great friend,” Troy said. “He helped me brush my teeth.”

They were both so excited to compete that they even slept in their uniforms, but they each channeled those emotions into medal-worthy performances in separate divisions.

Troy bowled a cumulative score of 342 over his three games in Division M09 of the morning session to earn his third gold medal of the bowling season. A few lanes over in Division M05, Kian earned the bronze after posting a 286 score, just three pins shy of the silver.

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