Idaho man wins silver medal and copes with Autism through bowling

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 20:40:27-04

If you have trouble processing loud noises, a bowling alley doesn't seem like the best place to be, but for Jonathan Harmon, these lanes have changed his life. 

"It was hard for me to deal with the noise but I just said okay Jon lets do it, and eventually it improved,"  Jonathan Harmon said. 

Jon was diagnosed with Autism when he was seven. According to Autism Speaks, Autism is a brain development disorder, which can cause sensitivity to noise. Jon’s mom says just being in the alley has made an enormous difference. 

I had done a lot of reading about autism, and it’s an auditory disease and so. If you could get his attention while he bowled you could get his attention on anything," his mother Rebecca Harmon said. 

Jon practices five days a week. Every Wednesday, he bowls in tournaments at Westy’s garden lanes in Garden City. It was this dedication that qualified him for the 20-18 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle earlier this month. A moment Jon says is hard to beat.

 Everybody came over to see me, and then they said 'ladies and gentleman Jon Harmon bowled a 300 on lane 2,'" Harmon said.  

A 300 is a perfect score in bowling, meaning he bowled twelve strikes in a row. In fact, Jon has bowled a perfect score eleven other times in his career. This earned him the number one bowling average of every bowler at the 2018 Special Olympics. HIs performance, well-documented by his biggest supporter. 

"It was amazing," his mother said, "I took movies every frame." 

Jon’s favorite part of the games was bowling with other serious bowlers facing disabilities and taking home a silver medal.

"I was just shocked I would’ve been happy…. All my 28 years of bowling has paid off. You know how in life you don’t know what our calling is my purpose is bowling and to make other people enjoy it as well," Harmon said. 

Right now, Jon is practicing to qualify for Idaho’s Special Olympics in the fall. He’s already qualified for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, but this time, he’s going for gold.