Special Olympics athlete heads to National Games - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Special Olympics athlete heads to National Games

Jessica Clopp Jessica Clopp
Clopp with her coach, Debbie Curry Clopp with her coach, Debbie Curry
Jessica Clopp and Bethany Clopp Jessica Clopp and Bethany Clopp

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

CENTRAL, TX (KTRE) – She's won more than 50 gold medals at the state level as a Special Olympics athlete.

She's even competed in the World Games in China.

Now, 20-year-old Jessica Clopp is preparing for the National Special Olympic games-- next weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Competing in rhythmic gymnastics, Jessica says it takes a lot of motivation to achieve success.

"Do your best, go out there, be yourself and don't worry about what other people think," said Clopp.

As a special needs athlete, Jessica faces challenges every day.

"She overcomes all these challenges and she whole heartedly knows she has these challenges. The way she deals with them is how she shines," said Bethany Clopp, Jessica's mother.

After years of competing with Coach Debbie Curry, Jessica is at the top of her game.

"She has really achieved the highest level in gymnastics that a Special Olympics athlete can."

Training with her coach has helped build confidence.

"I just want to tell them thank you for helping me get this far," said Clopp.

She makes it look easy but don't be fooled.

"She has to be fairly flexible," said Curry. "She has to have a good memory, she has to have stamina."

"She just doesn't ever give up," said Clopp's mother.

With dozens of medals, the hard work is paying off. Her coach looks forward to watching her excel in the upcoming national games.

"I'll be surprised if she doesn't have a gold medal," said Curry.

Win or lose, she's excited to get out there and do what she loves.

"I'm ready to go have fun," said Jessica.

Clopp is even sharing her passion with others.

"She's progressed beyond just being an athlete. Now she's a coach," said Curry.

"She wants to keep giving back to something that's given her so much," said Bethany Clopp.

So others like her can experience futures full of endless possibilities.

The Clopp family says Jessica's trip to the national games wouldn't have been possible without the support of the community, and their donations.

For more information on Jessica's journey, go to www.firstgiving.com/JessicaClopp.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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