See those two men standing
on the wharf there… straight behind them is a white marker. Head straight for that and aim
straight for those brick toilets. There’s approximately 10 minutes The starting signal will be given
from the wharf. Jane: Go to the end of the wharf with
all the other swimmers. And in groups you will be jumping
off the wharf. This event is a significant
physical challenge but there is always a
remote possibility participation could result in
permanent injury or even death. Narrator: Sam Muir-James is about to
compete in a ocean swim of 4.5km This race from Auckland’s
Rangitoto Island to St Heliers is just another training session for Sam. He’s much more focused on
his personal goal to represent New Zealand at
Special Olympics World Summer Games
in Los Angeles. Jane: We don’t want to put
pressure on him… but it is a big thing to
represent New Zealand at the World Games with
177 other countries. Sam do you think it is
a lot of pressure on you? Or not much pressure? Sam: Not much. Jane: Oh that is good. Narrator: Sam lives with Autism.
He’s not one for conversation. He is much more comfortable
here in the ocean. This is a guy who swims
and swims and swims. Jane: We have always wanted him
to achieve the best that he can. He is just out there leading
an ordinary life. And it is mainly all your doing.
Isn’t it Sam? Sam: Is… Jane: Yes, with a pushy mum sometimes? Jane: Way to go Sam! Run Sam! Narrator: As far as Sam is concerned… when the swimming is over
the race is over. Not quite. I picked up these brochures
from the Flight Centre. Do you know what they are on? Sam: On..USA. Jane: Gosh LA is full of exciting places. Disneyland, you will see a lot of
buskers at Long Beach… where you will be swimming.
That will be exciting. Four years ago, he was chosen
to go to Greece from the Club, but missed out and he could
have thrown in the towel. But he has trained harder and
it has really paid off. I think LA will be a good stepping stone
on your life journey. Because LA is a 4 to 5 week stretch, and mum and dad aren’t going to be
there 24 hours telling you what to do. Narrator: In recent years Sam has
become more independent. But he still needs support
from mum and dad. His own little pad behind their house
gives him just enough space. This is my room and those
are my medals. Three Golds. And my next medal is for LA. That is me and my mum. Mum, Dad, Tara, Daniel and me. Narrator: Sam’s brother has a
higher level of Autism. Daniel lives away from the family
in residential care. Jane: When Daniel came home
about six months ago. We measured it, how Autistic
was Daniel? Sam: This much. Jane: How much Autistic are you? You are only that much? And how much Autistic am I?
Sam: This much. And how much is Dad?
Sam: This much. And your sister?
Sam: This much. Jane: So we are all Autistic?
Sam: Yes. Jane: We are all Autistic
and that’s okay. Lady: So we are going to take
your Passport photo. Just sit up a little bit straighter. Jane: There is a big spectrum of
Autism of course, and it all comes down to processing. They are not blind but can’t always
comprehend what they see. They are not deaf but they can’t always
comprehend what they hear. Just a little tiny smile, so
not too serious. Jane: Reading people’s faces and
facial expression. Is this person happy, sad, are they angry? Even more serious than that.
You are looking really good. It is all ready to print now. It was a shock finding out we had two
sons on the Autism spectrum. But that shock was short lived. We just picked them up and got on with it. We have always been a sport family. We have never stayed at home because
we had two Autistic sons. We have always been out there and joined
the Kayak Club when Sam was 12 years. Sam joined Karate. Whatever was happening out there
we made sure we were part of it. Everybody has something to offer
and contribute to the world. I believe that with Autism it
is about finding… what they are good at and
just building on that. Jane: He has got to have a routine.
That is really important. He sets is alarm for 4.50 in the morning.
And gets himself out of bed. He goes into the kitchen and makes
himself a protein drink. And takes it on the road when he
drives off to swimming training. He has got his car and likes
to go out and about. He takes himself to the museum
and to swimming pools. He usually goes to his
local pool to train. But has sometimes taken himself
over to Henderson. It is good that he is expanding
his world like that. Coach: He comes in from 5.30am to 7am. He normally does the full session,
which is 4 to 4.5kms. I have to make sure he understands,
the time and distance we are going. He is good and doesn’t need
to much work on technique. Well done, Sam, that was
faster than last time. Any spare time he is out clowning
with me in the weekends. It is like a family tradition. My Dad was a clown in the South Island. 1958 he started performing and
he was very famous down there. I was 15 years when I took
over his act. I went on from there joined the circus
and met my husband, who was a flying trapeze artist. Sam would have been 10 years,
I was getting ready to do a clown show and he picked up my juggling
gear in the lounge and started throwing three balls, like he had known how to
juggle all of the time. Sam also joined a circus for a year and
that increased his independence. He lived in a caravan didn’t you Sam? Sam: Caravan. Jane: We would go and see him
every second weekend and make sure that he was eating well. We are away laughing!
Sam: Yes. A few years later, Sam and I got
a little act together. Jane: My name is “Double”
Sam: My name is “Double” Jane: No my name is “Double”
Sam: No my name is “Double” Jane: And together we are “Double Trouble” Jane: With his clown shows that’s
pocket money for him. And it could be a good career, later on. Maybe as a busker on Long Beach
in LA, you could do that. Sam: Magic Jonathan: Sam, I am Jonathan.
Nice to meet you mate. Sam: Nice to meet you too. Jonathan: Wally how are you?
Wally: Good to meet you John. Jonathan: Are you keen to learn
some magic today? Sam: Yes
Jonathan: Let’s go and do it. Jonathan: Are you heading to Los Angeles.
What’s happening over there? Sam: Over there to compete.
Jonathan: In what sport? Sam: Ocean swimming. Jonathan: And you juggle?
Sam: Yes I am a man with talent. Jonathan: Have you got a $10 note?
Sam: I do. Jonathan: I will show you a trick
with your $10 note. If we fold it in half and fold it
in half again. In half again and in half again. As quick as a flash it changes
into a $20 note. I am going to try sword swallowing
with a balloon here we go. Now I am going to teach you
how to do the balloon trick. As a magician you cannot reveal the secret
of how your tricks are done to anyone. Unfortunately no cameras! Narrator: Not so secret is Sam’s
long time love. Viv: How long have you and Sam
been going out now, Tarn? Tarn: Nearly three years. Viv: Oh long time eh?
Tarn: Yes Viv: Hello Sam
Sam: Hello Tarn: Hello Sam Sam: Hey we are going to the
Botanical Gardens today. Sam: Hope the weather stays nice.
Tarn: It should yes. Viv: Okay Tarn come on,
I will finish your hair so you can make your move. Viv: What do you like about Sam? Tarn: He is a lovely man. Viv: What are you and Sam’s
plans for the future? Tarn: To get married.
Viv: Oh anything else? Tarn: Haivng kids.
Viv: Wow Viv: He’s got a lot of sport, so it might
be a while away eh? Tarn: Yes I know that.
Viv: That’s cool. Viv: See you guys have a good day.
Sam/Tarn: Bye Tarn: Look at all the flowers.
Sam: Yes beautiful flowers. Tarn: How is swimming going?
Sam: Good. Sam: Doing the Ocean Swim.
Tarn: You want to win? Sam: Yes bring medals home.
Tarn: Gold medals home to NZ. Narrator: Sam is always keen
to impress Tania. She is the perfect audience to
test his new trick. Sam: Now I’m going to swallow
this balloon whole and make it disappear, watch. Narrator: It’s there last date before Sam
heads to the World Games. Sam: How do you feel about in LA Tarn: While you in LA? Sam: Yeah. Tarn: First things first no girlfriends in LA, okay? Sam: Okay. Tarn: How are you going to keep the
girls away from you? Sam: Say Tarn: Yes, what are you going to do? Sam: Bye. Tarn: Suggestion one, what do you do if a girl goes, come with me? What will you say?
and you don’t know the girl. Sam: Say no. Tarn: You go no thanks,
I don’t know you. Sam: I don’t know you. Tarn: Yes. Jane: Even though he’s out in the community There’s always that worry,
that things can go a little bit haywire. The way he is with his Autism, people can’t read his intentions,
he doesn’t know what their intentions are, it’s all to do with the processing and
body language to understand other people. A lot of what sam does is learnt behaviour
in the senses like watching others. Waitress: How are you doing?
What are going to have this morning? Sam: Just the usual. Waitress: The usual, is that eggs benedict
and chips? Sam: Yes, Eggs benedict and chips. Waiter: What about your drink? Sam: Cappuccino. Waiter: Cappuccino, sure. Jane: Sam learning to say no
a lot of the time say right through, the years had always said yes,
even if he means no. Actually even teaching Sam to become
angry at times because he’s a big strapping over six footer, but he always
has a smile on his face. Narrator: Sam’s signed up for one last
open competition, before he flies to LA He’s expecting to medal today. Crew: Hi Sam. Sam: Hello Crew: How are you? Sam: Good. Crew: Good, can i get you to fill
that in for us. How many k’s are you doing tonight sam? Sam: I’m doing the 1500. Narrator: Mum coaches Sam in race
strategy, but this wont be allowed in LA. Jane: So what you need to do Sam, in a few
moments you’ll go and have your warm up. Sam: Okay. but, can you tell me what buoy your
going to be swimming out to out there. Sam: Number three. Jane: Good, number three buoy and once you get around that buoy,
there will be a few currents so you’ll just have to make sure that
you sight again, every 10 or 12 strokes. Look up and sight. Sam: Every 10 or 12. Jane: 10 or 12 strokes look up and sight
because the little tip is if you get dragged out slightly with the current, you’ll see
those saftey boats. If your starting to head towards them you know your
starting to head of course. We want you to get a good
line in tonight, okay, and you should do a really good time again. Coach: He’s got a good line Jane. Jane: Has he gone around the buoy yet? Coach: Not yet, no body has
gone around the buoy yet. Jane: That’s good. Jane: A while he will be in
LA for a few weeks. Tarn: For 5 weeks. Jane: Do you think you’ll
keep in touch though? Tarn: Yes. Jane: Because there’s lots of
different ways you can, aye? Tarn: Yes, Skype. Jane: That’s good, I’m sure the NZ
team will be able to sort something out. Narrator: Sam’s first one out of
the water, winning the race, and achieving a personal
best for the 1500m. Narrator: Held every four years the
special olympics world games is the second largest sporting event in the world
with 6500 competitors from 177 countries it’s a showcase of the talent of people
with intellectual disabilities. Staff: Okay guys lets go for lunch. Sam: I’ll show you my room. Thats where I sleep, and Matt’s down here. Matt: They put our stuff on our beds. we did pretty damn hard in our
training today aye Sam? Sam: Yes, I swum 3km
and I fell pretty good. Coach: Backstroke , Breaststoke,
Butterfly, Freestyle. Get set, go. Narrator: Sam’s competing individually
and in the medally, were timing is key. Butterly, go. We just need to be sure when Sam goes to swim,
that we remind him what he’s actually swimming, we will have to work how we can deal with that,
maybe we write it on his hand. Narrator: They’re fourth. Sam: Tough going, Good going. Crew: You Happy with everything? Sam: Yeah, Happy. Crew: Cool, nice work. Narrator: On his day off Sam ventures
into the more colourful parts of LA, Venice beach, to join the buskers. Hey Hey Special olympics,
were with you guys. You going good? Sam: Yeah, had a good swim. New Zealand aye Sam: Yeah New Zealand Zoltar: Come on over and let Zoltar
share with you your fortune. Listen Closely, Sometimes you can tell a wise person
not only by what he says, but also by what he doesn’t say, it’s much better to say little
then to say too much and regret it later. There you go that’s ready. LA Local: Nice to meet you man,
LA styles (handshake). you competing in the games?
what are you doing in the games? Swimming? Sam: Yes, Swimming LA Local: Swimming, that’s cool. Do you mind if I take a picture? It’s the LA sign, take a few. Commentator: Ladies and gentleman,
boys and girls, you’ve tuned into the right spot. Perfect conditions out here today. 72 degrees fahrenheit, approximately
22 Celsius out there in the water temp today. Coach: Today’s the day, it’s the final of the
1500m open water swim for Sam. We are about to go and get a pre-race briefing. Crew: How are you feeling Sam? Sam: Very good, not nervous. Jane: I’m feeling nervous for him actually, but i know he’s going to give it his all. Today’s the day, I managed to have a little
word to him just before and said to him remember when you won the gold on the
800m final at the Masters. I said give it heaps on the last buoy, make
sure there’s nothing left in the tank. Then we know he’s done a fantastic race. Good thing is Sam is never nervous, sometimes I wish he could have a few nerves but no, he’s just so motivated, so relaxed. I could learn a lot from him. The conditions are really really good, doesn’t look like there’s any big
currents out there. In saying that, back in NZ he does rip and
currents really well. Coach: I think Sam is running at
about 12th or 13th place, quite a bit of ground to catch
up on the other guys, but he’s just going to swim his pace, Sam will do his best, Can’t expect anymore then that. That atmosphere is great, I mean, couldn’t wish for a better
beach to have it on, the water is about 24 degrees so, we don’t get water like this in NZ, not that warm anyway. Narrator: By the middle of the race he’s moved
up to fourth place and pushing for third. Jane: Go Sam, run Sam, run. Narrator: He maintains his position, but the last dash isn’t quite
enough for the bronze. He’s achieved his own goal though. Jane: Giving 120%, I saw that today
when Sam got out of the ocean. He sat down on the seat and I don’t think
there was anything left in the tank. Can I get a hug? Have you got enough energy for a hug? Sam: Yes. Jane: You did brilliant, That was a great race. I saw you coming around those last buoys, and what did you do? Sam: Dug it in. Jane: You dug it in didn’t you. Sam: I took two minutes off my perfect best. Jane: He needed that competition
to just make him go faster. I didn’t think he would go under 25 minutes. He can’t go back to NZ now and do his
27 – 28 minutes anymore, there’s no way. To get to LA, to this point, four years of hard slog, driving himself
to the pool three or four times a week, the support of the Manukau Masters, His coach, and in between that his got
juggling acts to do, kids parties. Announcer: In fourth place with a time of
25 minutes, 14.29 seconds, from Special Olympics New Zealand, James Samuel Muir. Sam: When I got up at the Podium, I feel very happy. Announcer: As our athletes celebrate
their win, please celebrate with them. Jane: The people beside come from israel, and say oh New Zealander, there all clapping, and I go yeah, there’s my boy over there.