Former Carson City resident Tim Baley won a gold medal Tuesday at the first-ever Japan Paralympics in Yokohama for his musical performance on the piano. The event was hosted by the Institute for Piano teachers and the Disabled in Japan on Monday and Tuesday.
Now living in Canton, Ohio, Baley, 52, was the only United States representative among 99 competitors.
Baley, who was diagnosed as a child with a form of cerebral palsy, received the invitation via e-mail. All pianists from the Very Special Arts were invited to compete.
"It was amazing," Rosemary Baley, Tim's mother said. "We had an amazing time there."
The Baleys stayed at the Olympic National Youth Center near Yokohama. The competition consisted of five categories. Tim competed in Category A, improvisational.
"He had to take 14 bars of music and turn it into a 10-11 minute creation," Rosemary said. "Tim performed first a one-finger variation, then semi-classical, jazz, waltz, a march, blues and Autumn Leaves-style.
"He received the award for 'Sakura Sakura' style of music."
Rosemary said Tim also performed "It's a Small World" to which the audience reacted with whoops and hollers.
"It was the very first piano paralympics held," she said. "They did it wonderfully and Tim and I didn't have a thing to worry about. The interpreters took care of us for every detail."
Rosemary said Tim is still on Cloud Nine from his experience and thoroughly enjoyed himself.
"He's still in Seventh Heaven."
"I wasn't going to reply to the e-mail," said Rosemary. "But I read it to Tim and he was very excited about it."
Rosemary answered the e-mail and asked about costs - airfare, hotel, entry fee, etc. The president of the organization, Tokio Sakado, simply replied, "You welcome, Tim welcome."
She asked again about costs to which Sakado replied, "We pay Tim's airfare and wave entry fee."
One more time she asked about costs to which Sakado replied, "Olympic committee pay all Tim's expenses."
Slightly frustrated but excited for Tim, Rosemary further explained Tim's mental disposition and that she must accompany him to Japan.
A few days later, Rosemary received a call from Toshiko Kuhn, who was with the committee and said she would interview Tim at their home in Canton. After videotaping Tim performing at home and at his job at The Agora Restaurant, Kuhn said she would let Rosemary know.
Ten days later, Kuhn called to say the committee would pay Rosemary's expenses, too. Sakado confirmed the invitation.
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.