Laura Strauss won bronze in the long jump and the 4x100-metre relay at this year’s Special Olympics in Vancouver.

Laura Strauss won bronze in the long jump and the 4x100-metre relay at this year’s Special Olympics in Vancouver.

Strauss brings home bronze at Special Olympics

Smithers resident Laura Strauss brings home two bronze medals from this year's Special Olympics in Vancouver.

It has only been a day since Laura Strauss flew back from this year’s Special Olympics, but her voice says a lot.

It’s raspy and coarse, yet her tone is still surprisingly energetic.

“Sorry my voice is gone,” she said. “I think it’s because of all the yelling and screaming and cheering on Team B.C.”

The 24-year-old Smithers resident  spent the last week in Vancouver competing against some of the top athletes in the country in the 2014 Special Olympic Summer Games.

“It was good, I actually had fun,” said Strauss. “I’m always nervous when I start, but then it’s fun to do it. The nerves make me go faster.”

This year, she took home two bronze medals: one in the long jump and another in the 4×100-metre relay.

She also competed in the 100-metre run where she finished seventh in the preliminary round and the 200-metre run finishing fifth in the division final.

Strauss finished with a long jump of 3 metres and 70 centimetres.

“There’s a lot of competition with the other teams, it makes it hard, but I tried to push to get to the end,” she said of the races. “They were really fast, but I did well, which is what counts.”

This is Strauss’ third national games.

Though she only brought home two bronze medals this year, she can add it to her growing collection — she already has 13 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze from previous Games.

For Strauss, training for the Special Olympics is a year-round job. She trained three times a week at the Smithers Secondary School track.

Though she didn’t win as many medals as she has in previous years, she’s proud of her performance.

“It’s hard work and I try my best. I worked really hard for this just by saying ‘I can do this’.”

Strauss also credits her mother for helping her to get to the Games.

“My mother did a lot of work for me to get here,” she said.

However, her mother, Elize, believes her daughter has done well because she is so disciplined.

“I think she’s very focused. I ran into her [at the Games] and she doesn’t hardly want to talk to me, she just said ‘hi mom’ and she just walked on,” she said. “The team keeps them focused.”

And although the Special Olympics are over, Strauss is setting the bar even higher.

“I wanted to try and go to Worlds because I’ve never gone to world competitions yet. Next year it’s supposed to be in L.A., so I hope to get picked,” she said. “If I’m not, maybe I’ll be able to watch.”

Strauss was one of 37 other provincial athletes who competed in the Special Olympics.