Twenty-seven-year-old Kodiak resident Brittany Tregarthen represented the United States in powerlifting at this year’s Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. She went from winning gold on the state level to earning recognition on the world level. And with so many competitors from around the world and even more people in the audience, she says this went through her mind before the competition.
“I felt very nervous in the first place,” she says. “But I actually remembered something what my best friend named Jason Gaysheen, from Omaha, Nebraska, he told me on the phone once that ‘You can do this’ and I actually did it.”
She won a silver for benchpressing 110 pounds, fourth-place for deadlifting 160, and she also brought back a bronze in squats and a second bronze in the combination of lifts overall.
And she says she got a surprise after flying back into Kodiak Monday night.
“When I got home, everyone in Kodiak was at the airport, and they were hearing – waiting for me to come in – they were hearing clank, clank, clank of my metals,” says Tregarthen. “And I got a special gift, and it was amazing. I can’t believe it.”
That was another surprise from Dan Canavan, the Special Olympics volunteer community director in Kodiak.
“I got this picture frame from Dan,” says Tregarthen. “And it has my photos on it and red roses, flowers, stuff, and I didn’t realize the whole crew was there.”
Canavan says the Special Olympics mirror the source of its name closely. The competition is fierce, and the athletes bring impressive talent from their various countries.
“I think what it did was raised that awareness that through sports, that we are serious athletes, competing at a very high level and really vital members of the community,” says Canavan. “I think Kodiak gets that and they support us in a big way.”
He says the local Special Olympics athletes will work towards qualifying for the next World Games.