His message was clear during the introductory speech of the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Special Olympics summer games.
"I am a winner."
27-year-old Patrick Gulbranson of Stuart, Iowa, has been in Special Olympics for more than 15 years, and was one of the first Special Olympians to give the opening speech during the ceremony.
The events he competes in range from running to long jump to bowling.
He is now pulling back his arm and letting his bowling ball fly as he bowls his way to Los Angeles.
Gulbranson has been anointed the opportunity to be one of two Iowans to represent team USA at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.
Gulbranson was one of 491 applicants who were accepted to be on the United States national team after he won a gold medal at the 2013 Special Olympics Iowa State bowling tournament. Even with his success, Gulbranson credits the opportunity to his family.
“My family always inspired me to do my best,” Gulbranson said during his opening speech.
The main family members he mentioned during his opening speech were his parents, Harriet and John. They are his biggest supporters. They were also the ones who led him toward participating in Special Olympics.
“We convinced Patrick to be involved in Special Olympics when he still went to Waukee High School,” Harriet said. “In fact, [Patrick] started out in playing basketball.”
And for that reason, Patrick’s parents, in his eyes, are his heroes.
Although he was announced as a member of team USA, it is not Gulbranson’s highlight in Special Olympics competition.
One of his highlights was him running.
“Me running the 100-meter dash was a great highlight,” Gulbranson said.
Another highlight for Gulbranson is the sport for which he is representing team USA — bowling.
“Or when I got my first strike in bowling is another highlight of mine,” Gulbranson said.
Not only will Gulbranson be representing team USA, he will also represent Special Olympics Iowa on the Casey's 44-ounce soda cup along with the other Special Olympics Iowa athlete, Lisa Spencer, who will join him at the summer world games. All proceeds of Gulbranson’s cup go to Special Olympics Iowa.
With all the accolades, Gulbranson wants to make one thing clear. He is just one of the guys.
“I am just like everyone here,” Gulbranson said during his speech.
Gulbranson will participate with team USA in one of the 25 sport events in Los Angeles, between July 25 and Aug. 2.
Along with team USA, there will be more than 150 nations participating in this year's summer games.