Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press
Southern California long snapper Jake Olson leads the USC Trojan Marching Band following an NCAA college football game against Western Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. Olson lost his sight eight years ago to a rare form of retinal cancer, but joined the USC team on a scholarship for disabled athletes and began practicing with the Trojans 2 years ago.
LOS ANGELES — Jake Olson first imagined this moment long before he lost his vision to cancer eight years ago.
Southern California scored a touchdown. Coach Clay Helton turned to the sideline and yelled his name: “Are you ready? Let’s get this done!”
The blind long snapper’s teammates guided him onto the field. They lined him up over the ball. The referee blew the whistle.
And Olson’s snap between his legs was straight and true.
“It turned out to be a beautiful moment,” Olson said.
Olson delivered a flawless extra-point snap for the final point in No. 4 USC’s 49-31 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday.
Although a rare form of retinal cancer took his sight as a child, Olson simply refused to give up on his dream of playing for his beloved Trojans. After years of dedication to football and two seasons of practice, Olson’s dream abruptly came true in USC’s season opener.
Olson got his snap to holder Wyatt Schmidt with 3:13 to play, and the ensuing kick set off a wild celebration for teammates and fans in awe of an indelible moment for an unstoppable athlete.
“I just loved being out there,” Olson said. “It was an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember forever. Getting to snap at USC as a football player … I’m trying to say as much as I can, because I can’t quite believe it yet.”
Olson’s snap was the culmination of years of dedication to a seemingly crazy dream. The 20-year-old junior has been around the USC football program since 2009 thanks to former coach Pete Carroll, who first heard about Olson’s cancer and his love for the Trojans.
Olson lost his left eye when he was 10 months old. The cancer forced doctors to remove his right eye when he was 12 — and he asked to watch the Trojans’ practice on the night…