By Christian Barel
Krystal Johnson is one of the 70 lucky athletes chosen to represent Southern California for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. Among the 3,500 athletes selected in the country, she will showcase her skills in track and field.
This isn’t a new ballgame for Krystal. It will be her second time competing in the USA Games. She first competed at the inaugural Special Olympics USA Games in Ames, Iowa, winning a bronze medal for volleyball in 2006.
“I was very excited for her second time going,” said Delia Johnson, Krystal’s mother. “We all were because we are a Special Olympics family.”
However, what will be a first is her stay in the city. Krystal won’t be alone in the experience, she has her mother and father to tag along. Some family from her father’s side, residing in Seattle, will be present and ready to cheer her on as Fans in the Stands, too.
Special Olympics Southern California has been integral to Krystal’s growth. The organization has unleashed her inner champion and fostered her go-getter attitude.
“I’ve been more active, exercising” Krystal said about the impact since getting involved. “Just having fun.”
In her 17 years as a Special Olympics athlete, Krystal has played in more than 86 competitions and won countless medals. Recently, she placed first in tennis at last month’s Fall Games.
“Since joining Special Olympics, she has been aggressive with sports,” Delia said. “She raises the bar in her level of activity during every competition.”
Not only does she win at sports, Krystal is a champion in life as well. She keeps her schedule productive, working with an industrial support system for the past eight years. She even found the time to continue her education at Tracy College. At 21 years old, she completed her course, graduating with a certificate of completion for life skills in 2009.
“She has a very positive attitude,” Delia said. “Always willing to try harder and always willing to do a great job.”