Nine Austin area athletes are competing in New Jersey in the 2014 Special Olympics USA games.
New Jersey Special Olympic athlete 17-year old Jacqueline Fuentes pulled far away from the pack to take home a gold medal for track and field.
She learned about the games a few years ago and has been competing ever since. Like so many of these athletes the games have changed how she feels about herself.
"I’m more friendly open now. Thank them for that," Fuentes said.
Princeton University is helping to host the Special Olympics 2014 USA games here this week in New Jersey. Athletes competed on the Ivy League campus in track and field and swimming.
Nicole Inouye is a Special Olympic athlete from Hawaii who swam her way to gold.
"I’m feeling really good about it," Inouye said.
What keeps her moving so fast?
"Perseverance never give up," Inouye said.
Susanna Brown made Ithaca, New York proud.
"My couch tells stepped up a lot too pretty good," Brown said.
Twenty-one-year old Keith Fisher from Piscataway, New Jersey didn't let the heat outside slow him down. He credits the Special Olympics with building his confidence on and off the track.
"It's express myself sot Keith Fisher Special Olympic athlete," Fisher said.
The games cater to athletes with intellectual disabilities. More than the thrill of competition the games are opportunity for those can often feel isolated to feel like they belong.
"I’ve made a lot of friends," Fisher said.