‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Captures Hearts Despite ‘Physical Challenges’

By ABC News

May 1, 2014 10:48am

An Arizona man who survived nine brain surgeries, one open heart surgery and has Tourette syndrome, as well as Asperger syndrome, is a viral star after his “smashing” run on “Wheel of Fortune.”

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#TeamTrent was trending on Twitter overnight in support of 21-year-old Trent Girone, who solved the first puzzle on Wednesday night’s episode, calling out “A Smashing Success.”

Girone of Peoria, Ariz., says he has been a “Wheel of Fortune” fan since he was 2.  He was finally chosen to appear on the show after solving the puzzle “L’eggo My Eggo” at an audition at the University of Phoenix stadium in March of last year, according to his “Wheel of Fortune” blog.

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Girone’s enthusiasm for and skill at playing the game led TV viewers to tweet their support.

“Trent was the best thing to ever happen on wheel of fortune,” one tweet read.

“TRENT IS THE MAN,” another said.

As Girone became a social media star, he was at home in Arizona watching the episode, which was taped in February, with his family and friends.

“Seeing him accomplish what he’s wanted to do his whole life was way awesome,” said his mom, Fay Girone, adding that her son, at one point, wanted to replace “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak when and if he retires.

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Girone fell short of making it to the final puzzle but did walk away with $2,150 in cash thanks to his puzzle-solving skills.

“So far, going on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ was indeed one of the best days of my life,” Girone said.

On his blog, Girone specifically thanked Sajak for making sure he “was safe and comfortable” in light of his “physical challenges.”

The “Wheel of Fortune” star also offered his advice for future contestants.

“My best advice to future contestants is to relax and have a good time,” Girone wrote.  “It is a lot of fun, whether you win big or not. That is my number one guarantee.”

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