Jeremy Macleod, Easter Seals employee working on the Johnson Warehouse cleaning crew, recently took the trip of a lifetime and fulfilled a lifelong dream. Jeremy was selected to represent Special Olympics Colorado and Special Olympics North America in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from March 14-21, 2019. Jeremy competed in the sport of cycling, which was one of 24 sports hosted at various venues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Jeremy was one of close to 7,500 athletes from 190 countries around the world to experience these historic World Games. These were the first World Games to be held in the Middle East and North Africa region. They were also the first World Games to be held since the fifty-year anniversary of the inaugural Games, which were organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in Chicago, in July of 1968.
Days before the competitions started, athletes participated in cultural activities and community engagement across the Emirates via the Host Town Program. During their UAE visit, Jeremy’s cycling team also visited a theme park, The Grand Mosque, the beach, and the desert to try sand boarding and camel riding. Opening Ceremonies and Closing Ceremonies were spectacular and celebrated the strength of a world full of diversity and inclusion.
The cycling competitions were held at the Yas Marina Circuit, a top notch facility that hosts Formula 1 Grand Prix racing. Jeremy participated in three races including: a 5 k Time Trial, a 5 k Road Race, and a 10 k Road Race. With determination, Jeremy held his own and brought home a 7th place win, a 5th place win, and a Bronze Medal. Of course, he is most excited over the bronze medal.
Jeremy has been participating in Special Olympics since he was 8 years old, for a total of 35 years. His first sports were swimming and speed skating. Throughout the years he has participated in the following Special Olympic sports: basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, skiing, snow shoeing, soccer, softball, speed skating, swimming, and track & field. Jeremy has participated in almost 300 Special Olympics events and over 140 Games over the years. This is his second World Games experience. He also competed in Speed Skating at the 2001 World Winter Games in Alaska, where he came home with one each, gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Jeremy also plays ice hockey for the Denver Mustangs Special Hockey team and is a goalie. He has been playing ice hockey for 18 years both as a defensive and offensive skater and now as a goalie.
Jeremy has always loved sports of every kind. He loves to watch sports on TV, go to sporting events, and keep track of his favorite professional teams via the various sports apps on his phone. Being able to compete in something that he loves, at his own level and be successful, has been so very rewarding for him. Jeremy has learned the meaning of team and teamwork and has formed a very special social bond with his fellow athletes and their families. He has learned that with determination and hard work, he can fulfill a dream.