RJ Gardner will compete in several track and field events at the Special Olympics State Games.
Multi-sport athlete RJ Gardner is headed to his fourth consecutive Special Olympics State Games on May 17, where he will compete in several track and field events. Gardner, a student at Willis Peters Exceptional Center, also competes in Special Olympics bowling and basketball events and can’t wait to try powerlifting this summer now that he meets the 14-year-old age requirement for the sport.
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Which events are you going to do at the state games?
The 100-meter run, the running long jump and the Unified 4×100 relay.
How long have you been with Special Olympics?
Since I was 8. I’m 14 now.
What first got you into playing sports?
Watching my brother (Austin Gardner) play for the Plant City Dolphins.
What sports do you play?
Basketball, bowling, track and field and powerlifting this summer.
Which is your favorite to play?
Basketball and I love running.
Who’s your favorite athlete?
Mike Evans and Jameis Winston.
How do you think the Bucs will do this season?
What’s a sport you’ve never tried but would if you could?
I want to try football.
What position would you want to play?
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in a competition?
I made a game-winning shot in basketball. I was the only one that scored.
How did you feel when you hit that shot?
What’s your favorite subject in school?
What’s some of the most fun you’ve had hanging out with your Special Olympics teammates?
We have pizza parties after games.
The next state games are coming up pretty soon. How do you think you’ll do?
I think I’ll win first place.
How many state games have you competed in?
This is my fourth one for track and field.
So you probably don’t even get nervous anymore, do you?
No, I’m excited for it.