A pair of gold medals and a bronze highlighted Special Olympics Southern California’s contribution to the U.S. team over the weekend as the 2019 Special Olympics World Games continues on in Abu Dhabi.
Jonathan Pierce was the first of the six SOSC athletes to compete, and he added a gold medal to Special Olympics USA’s tally right away.
The swimmer from Torrance finished the men’s 100-meter individual medley in 1:10.77, finding just enough separation on the final leg of the race to hold off Special Olympics Hong Kong’s Ka Fai-Wong (1:11.9).
On the track, Sarah Kovacs got off to a quick start in the women’s 1,500-meter run before ultimately finishing sixth with a time of 6:38.34.
In singles tennis action, Krystal Johnson dropped her opener to Italy’s Lara de Santi in straight sets, 2-0.
— Special Olympics USA (@specialolyUSA) March 16, 2019
Back in the pool, Pierce claimed his second gold medal in as many days to win the men’s 200-meter freestyle.
Neck and neck with Hungary’s Zoltan Jenei through the first 100 meters, Pierce overtook the lead heading into the last 50 meters and finished in 2:12.48.
In tennis, mixed doubles got underway as Johnson and partner Mark Hanson dropped a pair of sets to Alexander Vislykh and Clara Lehmkuhl of United Arab Emirates.
Hanson returned shortly after to play his first singles match of World Games, rebounding for his own straight sets win over Yves Logelin of Luxembourg. Meanwhile, Johnson narrowly lost a third-set tiebreaker to Egypt’s Mary Eskandar.
On the track, Tyrone Garrett was given a “maximum effort” disqualification in the men’s 200-meter run, as his time of 35.37 seconds was 15 percent ahead of his qualifying time.
Hanson and Johnson bounced back in mixed doubles, knocking off Bulgaria’s Hraber Natov and Lilyana Avreyska in straight sets to win the bronze medal.
A disqualification derailed hopes of Pierce claiming a third gold medal. The U.S. 4×100-meter medley relay team was penalized for making contact on the opening backstroke prior to Pierce’s leg of the race.
Divisioning play on the golf course wrapped up and Faith Demos posted a two-day score of 143. She will begin the two-day medal competition on Tuesday.