Brooke Hasfjord of Forsyth County is journeying next month to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
* To support her trip, visit sendourathletes.org
* She will walk with Team USA in the Opening Ceremony on July 25, which will be broadcast by ESPN at 8 p.m.
SOUTH FORSYTH -- One Forsyth County native is ready to jump in.
Brooke Hasfjord will make a trip across the country next month to represent Team USA in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, the biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
Hasfjord, 19, hopes to medal in aquatics. She has participated in Special Olympics of Forsyth County for eight years, competing in bowling, tennis skills and bocce, in addition to taking on swimming for the past three.
She will join six other athletes from Georgia for the World Games, which is expected to attract 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches from 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators.
“Of course, she’s competitive, but she’ll cheer for anybody,” said her mother, Kirsten. “It allows her to compete against other kids on her own level, and it does wonders for her self-esteem.”
Hasfjord, who graduated from South Forsyth High this spring, was diagnosed with mitochondrial complex I deficiency, an untreatable muscle disease that makes aerobic, or cardio, exercise difficult because her body doesn’t produce a typical amount of energy.
“The fact that she’s getting in there and swimming is a huge tax on her body,” said Joel Hasfjord, her father.
The disease can also affect her coordination and has left her upper body weaker than her lower body.
“Swimming is good because it’s weightless,” Kirsten Hasfjord said. “Just swimming has built so much endurance in her.”
Their daughter hasn’t let low-energy levels stop her path to L.A., where she will be competing in the freestyle and backstroke and is on the 100-meter relay team.
Last month, Brooke Hasfjord won two bronze medals and one gold medal at the State Summer Games at Emory University. She has since traveled to Indianapolis with her team to train. And she’ll stay in dorms with her team in L.A., with her parents and 23-year-old brother arriving later as spectators.
“It’s both terrifying and exciting for us,” her father said. “But the program is great. I was just in Boston, and there were ads on TV for the Games, so it’s starting to get noticed.”
Brooke Hasfjord said she is excited to compete against other athletes and to meet them, especially those from other countries.
She is also a global messenger for the local organization, which involves completing training and speaking at fundraisers around the county.
The Games run from July 25-Aug. 2 — coverage will be aired on ESPN and ABC — so she is planning to spend time touring the city.
Her hopes and what she is excited for mirror young people from all over Forsyth County, Georgia and the world. Have fun, compete well, meet new people.
“I want to go to the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” she said, “and see someone from One Direction.”