Story published in The Wenatchee World July 22, 2015.
WENATCHEE — If there’s one thing that makes 24-year-old Jordan Broderson nervous about competing at the Special Olympics World Games, it’s not the gold medal on the line.
It’s all the fans who will be watching his every step, in person and on national television.
“This is going to be my first time in the Special Olympics World Games with people watching me,” Broderson said Monday. “This is going to be a lot more different.”
Broderson is one of five athletes from Washington who will compete at the games, which kick off Saturday and run through Aug. 1.
Broderson qualified for the world event last summer at the Washington State Summer Games on Joint Base Lewis McChord.
“It’s been a lot of practice for the Special Olympics,” Broderson said. He’s practiced with his dad, Dusty, and step-dad, Chad Sangster, for years.
When Broderson was as young as 2, he played with plastic golf clubs. By age 7, he was playing with a real set of clubs.
Broderson has competed at state Special Olympics for at least the past 12 years, winning a gold medal all but one of the years.
“I’d like the gold medal (at the World Games),” Broderson said just before heading to Seattle Monday afternoon.
In October, Broderson traveled to Indianapolis where he practiced with Team USA.
His Team USA coaches are Alan Hirschman from Texas and Andrew Cameron from Minnesota.
In February, Broderson went to Los Angeles to play the course where he will compete next week. “It’s much more brighter and much more nicer,” Broderson said of the California course. He doesn’t foresee any challenges with playing his game at this course.
Broderson regularly golfs at the Wenatchee Golf & Country Club and Three Lakes Golf Course. During the winter, he plays at Golfer’s Edge, an indoor golfing facility in downtown Wenatchee.
“He’s worked awful hard to get here,” Sangster said.
The Washington athletes and their coaches left Sea-Tac Airport at 6:45 Tuesday.
First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to appear at the opening ceremony Saturday.
Broderson’s parents and family friends will travel to the Los Angeles area to cheer him on.
Although he’ll stay with Team USA at the hotel, he will see them at the course each day.
“I’m kind of getting excited that my family will get to come to this one,” Broderson said.
It’s anticipated that 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches from 165 countries will be represented through the course of the games. Nearly 25 Olympic-style venues in the Los Angeles area will be used to accommodate an expected 500,000 fans.
The games will be telecast on national networks beginning Thursday. The Countdown to the Special Olympics World Games with Robin Roberts airs at 6 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
For a complete TV schedule, go to: espn.go.com/extra/specialolympics.
It’s not just golf that Broderson has played in his time as a Special Olympics athlete. He also has played soccer and basketball, but golf is the one that he likes most — and wins most.
“I don’t have to run in golf,” Broderson said, “…just have to ride carts.”