HAMPTON — The Special Olympics 2018 USA Games was held in Seattle, Washington from July 1-6.
And one of Hampton’s own talked to HNNDaily about her journey to the games.
Venezia Arielle Jimenez, silver medal winner in the women’s Mini Javelin and sixth-placer in the 100- and second place in the 200-meter run, was born and raised in Hampton.
Jimenez was one of 46 athletes, 18 coaches, two youth leaders and four Special Olympics staff members to make the journey to Seattle this past summer, according to the Special Olympics website.
For the past few years Jimenez had participated in the Virginia Special Olympics in Richmond but this was her first time going to Seattle for the USA Special Olympics.
She said she was really nervous about running in front of all those people but once she gets going everything is blocked out.
Running is her favorite thing to do and it allows her to unwind after work.
Each Saturday Jimenez would go to the West Hampton Community Center to train with her peers.
She got into running track and field back in physical education in high school and was she was inspired by other runners around her.
Jimenez hasn’t always been a track runner though. She has played basketball and done swimming in the past before moving on to running.
Her swim coach, Jane Hobb from Special Olympics, helped get Jimenez into the games.
One of her favorite moments from going to Seattle this summer was seeing all the fireworks for the 4th of July celebrations as well as going up in the airplane to get there.
Jimenez said that while she doesn’t like the feeling of her ears popping, she liked looking out onto the world below from the airplane.
Next year she plans to go back to the Special Olympics, still competing in track and field.
She had always dreamed of going to the Special Olympics and now that she’s achieved that, she’s excited to go again.
When Jimenez returned from the games she received a recognition from the city for her outstanding contribution as a Team Virginia Athlete.
It stated that her efforts helped Special Olympics Virginia build bigger, better communities through sport.
She also received a letter of congratulations from Mayor Donnie Tuck.
To learn more about the Special Olympics Virginia chapter, click here.