Year that was: Special Olympians find success
GOING into the Special Olympics Australian National Games, four Gladstone athletes just wanted to have fun and meet some new people.
On the way home, they nearly had to leave luggage behind because all their suitcases were filled with medals.
Between them, Ruby Lawler, Adam Knust, Kerrod Hamilton and Jarrod Lee returned with 10 medals from the Australian Games, leaving smiles plastered on their faces.
A soccer player, Knust was only able to bring home one medal from the games, and nearly made it the best of all.
A 2-1 loss kept the goalkeeper from the gold, but he was delighted to have helped his Queensland teammates win the silver medal.
"We all played hard to get the ball and did our best," he said.
Ruby Lawler had a lot of events on her schedule, and medalled in nearly all of them.
Bringing five medals home, Lawler is looking for the next level to see how she will go.
"I want to go to the World Games, they are my long term goals," she said.
Kerrod Hamilton snagged two medals from the trip to Melbourne, but nearly lost them upon returning home.
"I was looking in my room, they were in the garage," he said.
"I was nervous and happy, I couldn't stop smiling."
The last of the stars was Jarrod Lee, who won two gold at only the age of 13.
The wins have increased Jarrod's confidence in himself, and his desire to improve. He is also more relaxed with his approach than ever.
"I sat there chilling in the pool looking at my time to see if I won or not. Mum screamed," he said.
UPDATE: Kerrod's medals are in his bedroom, safe from harm.
Ruby is still waiting to hear about her charge at the World Games.
Jarrod is also keen to take on the world, but is not old enough this time around.
And Adam has been selected in the Queensland AWD Team for the 2015 FFA Futsal National Championships.