Lewiston native goes gold in Special Olympic USA games

james closeup.jpg

The Special Olympics USA games recently wrapped up, and a speedster from right here in the LC Valley took home hardware while teaching us all a valuable lesson.

July second through the sixth, special Olympians from across the United States came to Seattle for their chance to go gold.

“I did the 400, the two, and the one,” said James Dawson.

James Dawson is from Lewiston and he represented Idaho at the Special Olympics running in three events.

"Mentally you get to out run yourself, and you get to improve what you think you can't do cause it's a mindset,” Dawson said.

He’s a runner, making his second appearance at the games, but this time is different.

James won a gold medal in the 400 meters with a time of 57.49, and if you ask him how he did.

"Good. Well, I did great actually,” Dawson said. “I should've done better, but I did great. I did my best."

He says the feeling of crossing the finish line with nobody in front of him is one of the most validating moments of his life.

"I finally did it. Of all the years I've been practicing, I finally did it,” said Dawson.

And even now when he looks back on this accomplishment, he chokes up.

"Very emotional, felt like a little kid just tried his first piece of candy,” Dawson said.

James also won bronze in the 200 meters, and finished fourth in the 100.

"I was in tears,” said Coach Ray Singer. “He was crying, I was crying, and it was just awesome cause he finally got what he was looking for. He proved yes I can."

Ray Singer is James’s coach.

"Some of them have been out down all their life, and that's not what I'm there for,” said Singer. “My job is to motivate them, encourage them, and have a good time all at the same time."

There’s something we can all learn from James.

"Not everyone can run like me, but if they train their best, they'll get there, but it's all about training,” said Dawson.

He said no matter what you’re dealing with, good or bad, dedication and practice is the key to success.

"I've paid off my hard work but I got more years to come for, to work more towards it,” said Dawson.

He’s now thinking of what comes next. A possible goal? The Special Olympic World Games in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Dawson says, "That's a long ways to think of. No it's not that far off cause it's next year."

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