‘It’s opened so many doors’: Jacksonville runner wins gold medal in Special Olympics

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Athletes from across the country are competing in the Special Olympics in Orlando. Among them is a Jacksonville runner who is bringing home a gold medal.

22-year-old Keyshawn Bell won gold after getting first place in the 100-meter run.


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Action News Jax’s Stephanie Bennett spoke to Keyshawn and his mother, LeChantel Bright, from Orlando.

“My son, Keyshawn, is an incredible example of not letting autism or whatever ability each person has defeat them. We overcome this.”

Special Olympics is a big part of Keyshawn’s life.

Keyshawn has been training at Mallison Park on Jacksonville’s westside for almost a decade.

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Keyshawnstarted with the 50-meter run and is now on the 200-meter run.

He also recently started getting into long jumps, and has competed in bowling and basketball.

“I cannot imagine where our lives would be if we were not in the Special Olympics, because it’s opened so many doors for him,” Bright said.

“To my family, it’s been the greatest feeling in the world. Just to show the world that they should always been included. Inclusion has been real key with Keyshawn and other athletes like him. They’re not different; they are unique in their own way.”

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Bright wants Keyshawn to be a motivation for other families of those with different abilities.

“It takes you to levels you didn’t even think you would be able to compete, but you can, you can. Don’t give up. There’s a huge support system out here.”

ESPN reports the games, which go through Sunday, have brought together more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from across the country and the Caribbean.

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