As the 215 Special Olympics USA athletes enjoy Thursday’s Closing Ceremony at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi and prepare to return home, let’s take a look back at how the six Special Olympics Southern California athletes performed.
As a delegation, Special Olympics USA amassed 71 gold, 60 silver and 72 bronze medals at the Games. Four of the gold medals were contributed by SOSC swimmer Jonathan Pierce and runners Tyrone Garrett and Sarah Kovacs.
Pierce showed why he is on the U.S. Paralympic national roster, with his winning performances in the 100-meter individual medley and 200-meter freestyle. The track provided a little more drama, as Garrett was initially disqualified in the 200-meter run via technicality before officials reversed the decision and awarded him the gold three days later. Kovacs earned the lone “team” medal of the group from Southern California, as she started off the U.S. women’s 4×100-meter relay team’s path to the gold.
Kovacs (800 meters) and tennis player Mark Hanson (singles play) accounted for silver medals, while Pierce (100 meters), Hanson (doubles play) and Krystal Johnson (singles and doubles play) brought home bronze in their respective sports.
Garrett added a pair of fourth-place ribbons (100 meters and 4×100 relay) and Kovacs a sixth (1,500 meters).
The biggest adjustment, perhaps, belonged to golfer Faith Demos. While venues like a pool, track or tennis court mostly play equal regardless of the city or country, very few golf courses are alike. Yet, the South Bay athlete battled through and consistently posted scores in the low-to-mid 70s en route to a participation ribbon at the end of four rounds of 9-hole competition.
Congratulations to all six SOSC athletes for their tremendous efforts!