After Sheryl Jakubowski won two gold medals at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games last August, she said the last thing she wanted to accomplish in Special Olympics was compete at the world summer games.
Not only did she race at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, she became a world champion, winning gold in the 5000m on March 18, 2019. Jakubowski also placed fourth in the 10,000m, setting personal bests for both events. Not bad for a 50-year-old.
“I always dreamed of going to a world summer games after I went to the world winter games. It was awesome, I did so good I shocked myself,” said Jakubowski.
Jakubowski said she didn’t compete at the worlds just for herself, or for her hometown, Fort St. John.
“I did it for all the mothers out there. I’m a mother to three daughters and two grandchildren, and I did this for mothers who couldn’t,” Jakubowski said.
It’s the perfect way for Jakubowski to end her Special Olympics Career, as she plans to retire from competition.
“I’ll still be in it, and will give my thoughts to athletes on how they can better themselves, and I want to keep my self in shape,” she said.
Jakubowski put in a lot of work that led up to this moment, including going to the gym twice a week and running at the Pomeroy Sport Centre twice a week all winter. She said she owed a lot of her success to the many coaches and trainers in both Fort St. John and Special Olympics Canada who have helped her along the way, as well as her family.
“My coach in Fort St. John, Crystal Laboucane, really pushed me and was very supportive,” said Jakubowski.
In the end, what matters most to Jakubowski is that she set an example for others and show them what is possible.
“Who knows, maybe one day my grandson will go there now and that’s really something.”
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.