Paralympic gold medalist honored in Northport, Long Island

NORTHPORT, Long Island (WABC) -- There was a hometown honor for a young athlete from Long Island.

Mikey Brannigan, a Paralympic gold medalist, got a hero's welcome at his former high school. He was surrounded by friends, family and even his former coach.

There's no doubt in Northport that Brannigan is a hometown hero.

"It is Mikey Brannigan Day in New York," said Assem. Chad Lupinacci, (R) 10th District.

Surrounded by friends and New York State lawmakers, the 20-year-old, 2015 graduate of Northport High School, was officially honored Wednesday for his two gold and silver medals in the Paralympics, and for setting running records almost as quickly as he can put one foot in front the other.

"3:57:58 is his PR," said Sonja Robinson, Mikey's coach. "Under 4 minutes, so he was the first Paralympic ambulatory athlete to break four minutes in a mile."

He's also the first to hold simultaneous records in the 1500, the mile, the 3000 and 5000 meter runs!

Brannigan's autism affects his speech and his learning, but never once has it slowed him down.

"Little by little, little steps, work hard, you could achieve your dreams," Brannigan said.

Brannigan's teachers at Northport, remember his love of running ever since he was very young.

In fact he ran right out the school doors! But it didn't take long, to channel that energy.

His next goal is to defend his title in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, but ultimately the 2024 Olympics would be Mikey's dream.

His advice to others who may be struggling?

"Find a passion, something you do, you love," Brannigan said.

And just run with it!
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