THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Gate A-7 at Port Columbus yesterday looked much like the finish line for one of Jeff Brewer's races. The moment he crossed the threshold, cheers erupted, pictures were snapped and congratulations were given.
Brewer, a 37-year-old Columbus resident, returned home after two weeks in Greece, where he competed at the Special Olympics World Games - and took home a gold medal in the 400 meters.
"It was an exciting trip out there," Brewer said, his medal still hanging around his neck and resting on his blue Team USA T-shirt. "I was a little scared when I first got there, but as soon as my races started, I was all right."
Brewer put together his best career race in the 400, finishing in 1 minute, 1 second at Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, the home of the first modern Olympics in 1896. He also placed fourth as part of the United States relay team.
"Hearing Jeff won the gold made me so happy," said David Foulds, a former Goodwill athlete. "I just gave him a big handshake and told him, 'Jeff, you did it!' What a great day for America."
In the 400 final, Brewer blew past his competition, finishing about two seconds ahead of the second- and third-place finishers. Brewer credited his tough training for the performance.
His coach, Steve Weaver, has trained Brewer since the beginning of the year, often making him run with a parachute attached for added resistance.
"It worked," Brewer said.
Weaver added that when Brewer was on top of the podium accepting his medal, he might as well have been on top of the world.
"I've never seen anyone more excited than when he was getting that gold medal," Weaver said. "He just glowed."