Special Olympics athlete comes home a champion
KANSAS CITY - Colin Garrison is back in the Show Me State after showing the whole world what he can do.
Garrison represented Missouri, and the United States, at the 2019 Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi.
"All I knew was it was in the Middle East somewhere," Colin said about the moment he found out where he was headed.
Colin won three medals for Team USA in bocce ball. At first, the gold eluded him, but eventually, it came.
"It was so exciting to get a gold medal on the last day of your competition after you had won a bronze and silver," he said.
Colin has been diagnosed with fragile X syndrome related to a gene mutation. A common side effect is autism.
It hasn't stopped from from competing at the highest level, though.
"When you win a gold medal in an international competition, it's really hard to describe what that's like," his dad, Mike Garrison, said. "That's a pretty big deal. That's a big deal."
Mike Garrison knows how much Special Olympics means to his son.
"He gets to reach out into the world in a way that would never have become available to him before," he said.
Colin Garrison and his partner from Nevada were down big in their match with Gibraltar and needed to stage a comeback.
"We were down six to nothing and tied it 8-8," Colin said.
They went on to take the gold against Cambodia.
"We found out after we got off the bocce court that we had won the gold medal. So, that was pretty exciting," Colin said.
Team USA got to visit a local school while in Abu Dhabi and the children were starstruck.
"The kids were so excited to see the Team USA athletes come out," Colin Garrison said. "They were cheering, "Go USA!" when we got off the school bus."
Some notable people made the trip to support Colin Garrison.
"Roy Blunt and his wife and Tim Shriver and his wife were there one day. That was really exciting to have that experience with them," he said.
While he wants to compete again, he's okay with whatever's best for the team.
"Four years from now is in Germany so, we'll have to see. Unless somebody else goes, and that's okay, too," he said.