The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held next week in Seattle.
The games will celebrate Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary, as the organization works to promote acceptance and inclusion through sport.
More than 4,000 athletes will take part – including one Special Olympian from the Quad Cities Area.
Jaimie Drobushevich of Colona has been bowling since she was 11 years old.
“It’s my life.”
Jaimie’s been competing for Special Olympics as part of Illinois’ delegation for about that long.
She’s won many trophies and even gold medals – in tournaments in Chicago, Peoria, Galesburg, and Washington, Illinois.
Local 4 News caught up with her and her mom at QC Family Entertainment in Moline.
Jaimie Drobushevich says her strategy is “focus on behind the second pin, and try and hit all of them.”
“She just naturally picked it up and at a very young age became a very good bowler,” says mom Dana Beachler, “and I don’t understand how, but she just did it.”
“I’m good,” Jaimie says with a laugh.
Jaimie got her first bowling ball from her brother-in-law twelve years ago, and it cemented her love of the sport.
Shane Kern has been her coach for a couple years now. She calls him one of her best friends.
He taught her to “breathe, think for a minute, and throw the ball.”
“One year at State Special Olympics, she bowled a 165,” recalls Beachler, “and everyone around her was hushed. You could hear people talking about her, and one guy said, she bowls like a professional. It makes you really proud. I’m going to cry.”
In between competitions, Jaimie hones her craft once a week in the winters – in a women’s bowling league – the John Deere Deers.
She loves it – especially winning.
Jaimie leaves for Seattle tomorrow with her mom.
The Games run Sunday, July 1, through Saturday, July 7.
For more on the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, click here.