Joseph “JoJo” Woodland, a 22-year old from Ward 7 of Northeast D.C., has been selected from over 500,000 athletes across the United States to represent Special Olympics USA, competing as a Track & Field athlete in the 200m and 400m races. Joseph will join 132 other athletes and 38 coaches in representing Special Olympics USA at the World Games, competing against over 7,000 athletes from 190 other countries. Joseph “Joe” Woodland of Washington, D.C., has participated in Special Olympics DC for more than 10 years, which has provided him the opportunity to play his favorite sports as well as increase his confidence and prospects for his future. As part of his training regimen, Joe runs in the city and completes track workouts with his coach.
“Everything would be different if I wasn’t doing Special Olympics, like school and everything. I’m lucky, my coaches and teammates have helped me get all this way and it’s been a long journey.” -JoJo Woodland
Every two years, the world transcends the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion to come together for the Special Olympics World Games. Special Olympics DC is the local chapter of the global program, serving 2,500 people with disabilities in all eight Wards of DC. “We are thrilled that Joe has qualified to represent the District on the Special Olympics USA Team,” said Nicole Preston, President and CEO of Special Olympics DC. “His confidence and race times have increased through the years participating with Special Olympics DC and we are so proud to send him to compete in Berlin. It will be an experience of a lifetime.”
Joseph is employed at the Department of Homeland Security in the building’s cleaning services department. His hobbies include bowling, playing video games, and cheering on the Dallas Cowboys. He most admires his mother, who raised him, and who will be proudly cheering him on as he competes in the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. For the many miles that have led him to this moment, he’s grateful.
For the miles ahead, he’s ready.