Jake Olson may be blind, but he proves time and time again that anything is possible. The 21-year-old long snapper for USC hit the headlines again on Thursday after he got behind the wheel and drove a race car around Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With the help of former NASCAR driver Todd Bodine, Olson went for a spin around the 1.5-mile track, and Fox’s NASCAR Race Hub aired the experience.
“It was awesome,” Olson said. “I had been behind the wheel of a car in a parking long going maybe 10 or 15 miles per hour and just feeling out the brakes and turns and stuff. To be out on a speedway — and one of that stature — was just amazing. To get a chance drive on it was really special. On the straightaway, we got going about 60 miles per hour. To be behind the wheel of a car going that fast was fun. I don’t know where else you can do that — not down that 405 freeway in L.A.”
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) May 17, 2018
He plans on attending the NASCAR Monster Energy Series All-Star Race this weekend in Charlotte.
Olson, who is a redshirt junior for the USC Trojans, made his first collegiate long snap in a regular season game when he delivered a perfect ball on a successful extra point attempt against Western Michigan in September.
He lost his vision completely at 12 years old due to retinal cancer. After hearing his story, former USC head coach Pete Carroll invited him to a practice for the day, and he remained part of the team in one way or another ever since.
Olson is also a talented golfer who hits a long ball off the tee.
What can’t Jake Olson do? In addition to playing football at USC and learning to drive this week, he swings a golf club better than most of the people on this planet. What an amazing way to live your life and not let anything hold you back. Well done @JakeOlson61! pic.twitter.com/k1pdxSFh5K
— Jacob Ullman (@jacobu) May 17, 2018
“It’s your choice to either let that disability or adversity stop you, or to overcome it,” Olson told NASCAR Race Hub.
Add another check mark to Olson’s growing to-do list.