07/30/10 — Wayne woman wins gold

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Wayne woman wins gold

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on July 30, 2010 1:46 PM

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Dianne Jordan poses in her Goldsboro home with her medals and bowling ball. Ms. Jordan won several medals at the National Special Olympics in Nebraska, including the gold medal in the singles bowling event. Ms. Jordan is a talented athlete who also competes in the bocce and basketball events at the Special Olympics.

Linda Jordan knew her sister, Dianne Jordan, didn't have a cell phone, so when she got an unexpected call from the Special Olympics U.S.A. National Games it came as a complete surprise.

Dianne had borrowed her coach's phone to share the good news.

"'I won the gold medal! I won the gold medal!' I'm like, 'You did?' Yeah!'" Linda said, recalling their long-distance conversation.

Dianne represented Wayne County and North Carolina last week at the second annual Special Olympics National Games in Nebraska. She won a gold medal in her division for singles bowling, a bronze medal for team bowling and a fourth-place ribbon for doubles bowling.

"I wasn't nervous at all," she said about competing at the large venue.

At a special ceremony at the governor's mansion in Raleigh, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton presented each of the state's 50 Special Olympics athletes with the Laurel Wreath award, the highest honor any North Carolina athlete can receive. Gov. Beverly Perdue named the athletes goodwill ambassadors for the state before they set out on their trip.

Dianne was one of the athletes who took part in the Special Olympics Cessna Citation Airlift, a volunteer transport service provided by Cessna Citation airplane owners to transport competitors to the games. It was the first time she had been on a cross-country airplane ride, and now she loves to fly, she said.

While participating in the games, the Special Olympics Healthy Athlete program provided Dianne with two new hearing aids and even completed some dental work. The program emphasizes athletes' health and wellness.

Months before the national games, organizers sent competitors special shoes, along with instructions to walk a lot to prepare for the big event, Linda said.

It turned out to be good advice, Dianne added.

"I just about walked and walked and walked. The shoes I have on they gave me, they wanted me to walk, walk, walk, walk," she said.

The exercise might have helped her bring her best game to the Special Olympics. She finished on top of her division in the singles bowling series with total score of 376 across three games.

The Special Olympics are more about good sportsmanship and participation than winning, but Dianne felt she did well -- and so did the crowd at the games.

"I got a lot of yelling," Dianne said.

After a week away from home, Dianne returned with her medals and a lifetime of memories. Some of her favorite souvenirs are the friendship book she made, its pages filled with the names and addresses of people she met, and a lanyard full of decorated pins from states all across America.

"I had some pins and if people wanted a North Carolina pin, then they gave me one of them, and I gave them one of mine," Dianne said.

She was also glad to have met new bowling coaches, who taught her more about the game. And in exchange, "I think I taught them something," Dianne said.

She hopes to compete again at the national level, or someday go on to compete at the invitation-only Special Olympics World Games.

Dianne has been involved in the Special Olympics for several years. She also enjoys basketball and bocce ball.

She thanked the many people who helped her make it through to the competition, including Linda and her husband, local coaches Charlotte and Don Jenkins, and state-level coaches Winter Sexton and Chuck Dellinger.