Maddox to take the reins at Special Olympics World Games

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Jennifer Maddox, 31, is chomping at the bit for her chance to represent Henry County on a worldwide stage.

Jennifer Maddox will represent Henry County Special Olympics in the World Games in Los Angeles. Special photo

Maddox, 31, will compete in several equestrian events at the Special Olympics World Games, which is set for July 25 to Aug. 2 in Los Angeles.

“This is my first time competing at the World Games and it is such an honor,” says Maddox. “I have always wanted to compete in horseback riding at the World Games.”

Events which will feature her include dressage, working trail and equitation. In dressage, Maddox will ride in a pattern that her coach calls out to her, whereas the working-trail competition will require her to ride in a pattern she creates on her own. For the equitation competition, she will compete in a pattern that will not be given to her until she arrives at the Games.

Maddox has been involved in the Special Olympics for 15 years, and considers the organization an important part of her life. She has competed in the organization’s Fall Games, representing Henry County, since 2006, and has worked toward competing in horseback riding at the World Games since 2000.

She could scarely contain her anticipation when talking about reaching her goal.

“I can’t wait for the World Games to begin,” says Maddox. “I am so excited. This has been my biggest accomplishment in my time at Special Olympics Henry County.”

Approximately 7,000 athletes from 177 different countries will compete at the World Games. When Maddox participates in this month’s event, she will join an elite group of athletes who have represented Henry County at the World Games over the past 40 years.

Maddox trains every Tuesday at the Calvin Center in Hampton. Her training at the center includes strenuous leg exercises, which help her to control a horse more effectively while riding.

More than 200 athletes in Henry County participate in five statewide competitions for the Special Olympics. In addition to her equestrian pursuits, Maddox participates in alpine skiing, tennis, bowling and kayaking. While she admits to struggling with her equestrian training, she says her faith helps her to reach her goals and stay true to herself.

“When I struggle with being nervous, I pray and God gives me the strength,” Maddox says.

For more information on the Special Olympics in Henry County or the World Games, or to make a donation to the local program, call Terry Nash at 770-288-7290 or visit