Here’s the thing to know about Special Olympics athletes: They’re adrenaline junkies. And for some, the Games is the perfect outlet for that.
“It feels nerve-wracking but it feels awesome – the adrenaline rush!” said Rebekah Jensen, who competes in track and field, ice skating and golf.
Even Molly Anderson, a downhill skier describing a time when she was staring down a black diamond with her coach, came around to the rush.
“I’m not that much for the adrenaline, but it was actually quite exhilarating and quite fun,” she said.
Fellow skier Ryan Fielding was more unabashed when asked what his favorite part of the sport was: “The speed and – probably just the speed,” he said with a laugh.
KUOW partnered with Special Olympics USA Games Seattle 2018, Microsoft and Brooks Running to host an “Ask a Special Olympics Athlete” event on June 9. Seattle hosts the Games starting July 1.
Sporting events will take place at different venues across the city, and fans are welcome – particularly by some of the athletes.
“Swimming is one of the few sports where louder and crazier the better – especially since we thrive under pressure. That’s what we live for,” said athlete Marcia Barrett.
Shaneey Skelton echoed that idea, “I won’t be nervous when people come and cheer me on.”
Below we’ve included excerpts from our interviews with the athletes.