Understood is the struggle of an athlete, the body, mind, and spirit is pushed during each trial, but perseverance is the true name of the game.
Athletes come in all shapes and sizes and are the struggle is real for all. The Special Olympics feature some of the most competitive athletes. Not only do they compete with each other but also for a coveted medal.
The Special Olympics brings top athletes together to battle head-to-head for those three medals, gold, silver, and bronze. Among the aspiring champions at this year’s Olympic games was Jaylen Bell.
H3 is a remarkable young man and strived for the gold with every fiber of his being.
“Physically he is 16 and mentally 5,” said his mother, Kathye Hodge-Bell.
Jaylen lives with seven disorders “that we battle every day,” said Hodge-Bell, “but truly is the sweetest kid you’ll meet.”
Despite his adversity, Jaylen is a top athlete and the Special Olympics were perfect for his eagerness to meet new people and to get his feet on the track.
Jaylen participated in the track and field events at Conway High School. As his feet touched the soft track, the sun beat down, energizing him as he prepared for the event. Walkers around him looked to intimidate the star performer, but he was not to lose focus.
As the 25-meter walk began Jaylen was at a disadvantage “with a broke ankle,” said Hodge-Bell, “We were first told that it was just a sprain and to wrap up good and he’d be fine. A week later, we found out it was broken (due to an MRI). But he never complained about it. He’s got such a high tolerance level for pain. I’d been crying trying to walk on it, but not Jaylen.”
No stranger to adversity, Jaylen stepped on the track and finished the race winning a gold medal in the 25-meter walk and qualified for the state track meet.
Along with the 25-meter gold medal, Jaylen also took home gold for the softball throw.
With his ankle wrapped, he also competed in the recent state Special Olympics at Searcy.
Jaylen’s mother supports his athletic pursuits and his drive to win gold.
“I can’t express how proud I am of him because he never let’s any of his ‘challenges’ hold him back from doing what he loves,” said Hodge-Bell, “I told him he was my super hero and he said he wanted to be Thor or Wolverine.”