It took just over 23 seconds for Team Washington athlete Andrew Fowler to realize a dream come true — a first-place finish that earned him a gold medal in the 100-meter speed walk.
“It took me 4 years to get here,” he said. “I feel great!”
Andrew was born 3 months premature and his parents weren’t provided an optimistic view of his future. “When Andrew was born 31 years ago, they said he wouldn’t survive,” said his dad, Mark Fowler. “They said he wouldn’t run, wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t be able to feed himself. But…look at him now,” he said, reflecting on his son’s big achievement. “We’re happy. Yeah, we’re happy.”
Andrew, a Kaiser Permanente member, felt well prepared for his race. He said he ate a good dinner the night before and was in bed by 9 p.m. When he woke up the morning of his first race of the Games, he was excited and ready to go after a healthy breakfast. As the starting gun sounded, Andrew took off like a bolt of lightning and finished a clear first in the 100-meter men’s speed walk race with a time of 23:33, almost 10 seconds faster than the next athlete across the line.
The next day, Andrew walked away with a silver medal in his division of the standing long jump. And the day after that, he earned himself another gold medal in the men’s 50-meter speed walk. After his first race at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games he said, “I’m going to work hard, try hard, and do my best.” After his last event, it’s clear he did just that.