Jenks Special Olympian Lands Spot On Team USA

Friday, August 20th 2010, 8:56 pm
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

JENKS, OKLAHOMA -- A Jenks track and field athlete says his dreams are about to come true.

His accomplishments as a Special Olympian have landed him a spot on Team USA.

"That's me in the purple," James Holder said.

James Holder watches his races to improve his performance.

"I check on my time to see if I'm improving and if I see 'Oh, I gotta go faster,' so I run a little faster and I do just fine," he said.

James, 20, competed in Nationals for the Special Olympics in Nebraska last month. He brought home three medals: two gold and a bronze. He almost had a fourth medal in the 5K, but got confused on how many laps he had left.

He was devastated.

"He ran over to the gold, silver and bronze medalists and shook their hands and hugged them, and I was as proud then as when he got his two gold medals," Mia Holder, James' mother, said.

Then, a few weeks later, a letter came in the mail. Team USA asked James to compete with them in Athens, Greece, next summer.

"I was really surprised," he said. "I didn't think I was going to get it."

"I was ecstatic, I was so proud, he's worked so hard," said Jim Holder, James' father.

That hard work started in the 6th grade when James realized he loved to run.

"At first, I would say 'come on, buddy. Stay with me, we can do it.' And now I don't see him, he waits for me," his mother said.

Now James wakes up at 5 a.m. to run, lift weights and do speed drills.

"He asks me, 'How am I doing dad? How am I doing dad?' And I say 'you are running to fast! Slow down son," his father said.

"I hope I can make it in the top lead over there, beat a whole bunch of people, beat a whole bunch of people in my age group, beat my time over there," James said.

Hoping for gold in Greece.

James heads to San Diego with Team USA in March for training. He hopes he gets assigned to the half marathon, so he can run through the streets of Athens.