ROCKVILLE, MD — Jeff Brewer, an athlete at Goodwill Columbus (OH), took home a gold medal at the 2011 Special Olympics World Games, held at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, Greece, from June 25 to July 4. The 37-year-old placed first in the 400-meter dash achieving his best personal time of 1:01 and becoming a world champion in the process. He also competed in the standing long jump and the 4×100-meter relay team for Team USA, which took fourth place in the event.
Brewer is one of two Ohio competitors and one of 300 athletes from the United States who participated in the games on Team USA. Approximately 7,500 athletes from 185 nations competed in the event.
“To see Jeff stand on the gold medal platform and become a world champion is beyond words,” said Steve Weaver, coach and Goodwill Columbus coordinator of athletic programs. “Jeff, who does not show much emotion or even talk with many individuals he does not know, went out of his comfort zone to show everyone he could earn this gold medal.”
As a program participant in Goodwill Columbus’ athletic program over the last three years, Brewer is the first competitor from Columbus to make it to the World Games. Throughout the years, he has trained and competed in Special Olympics’ track and field events at local, state and national levels. Brewer specializes in the pentathlon, which includes a 100-yard dash, running long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter dash. Additionally, Brewer runs the 4×100-meter relay. He earned two silver medals for these events last summer at the Special Olympics 2010 National Games in Lincoln, NE.
Brewer, who was born with a cognitive developmental delay, first jointed the Special Olympics program in 2004. Before that, he hadn’t run on a track competitively since middle school. During Brewer’s Special Olympics tenure, he has also participated in basketball, softball and bowling.
“The things I have done while at Goodwill and with the Special Olympics have helped me to be more outgoing, develop a sense of accomplishment and take pride in doing my best while working toward this goal,” said Brewer.