Kentucky’s Athletes and Coaches are enjoying Host Town and Awaiting Ceremonies
It’s World Games Week!!! Kentucky athletes Lee Dockins and Wake Mullins, Unified partner Dennis Gaines and coaches Mary Fehrenbach and Debbie Ogden have arrived safely in Germany with the Special Olympics USA Team. The five left from Lexington and Northern Kentucky airports on Saturday, June 10, and met up with the USA Team in New York that afternoon. In New York, the delegation enjoyed a team dinner on Saturday and received a huge sendoff on Sunday when they headed to Germany.
Now the Kentucky delegation will stay with the USA Team for several days in Bremen and Bremerhaven, Germany, (about four hours east of Berlin) as part of the Host Town program before finishing the journey to Berlin for the Games. Host Town activities are designed to help athletes and coaches adapt to the new time zone and prepare for competition, but also to enjoy many cultural experiences in their first stop in the host country.
Teams will arrive in Berlin by Friday, June 16, and all of the Kentucky competitors will have training opportunity that day.
The Games will officially open on Saturday, June 17, at historic Olympic Stadium in Berlin. It is the same Stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympic Games where Jesse Owens won his four Olympic Gold Medals. You can watch the Opening Ceremonies live on your local ABC affiliate from 3-6 pm Eastern Time, 2-5 Central Time.
Competition for the Kentucky athletes will open on June 19 when Mullins and Gaines play their first of two Divisioning Rounds in the 18-hole Unified Alternate Shot event to determine which flight they will compete in. They will play each of the next three days with their final round coming on June 22. Dockins will start her Rhythmic Gymnastics competition on June 20 with the all-around event. She will complete her events the next day with the individual apparatus competitions.
In addition to the five Kentuckians involved in the competitive side of the World Games, Kentucky State Police Sergeant Barrett Brewer is also in Germany to participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Brewer, who also participated in the 2022 USA Games Final Leg, joins law enforcement officers from around the world to escort the Special Olympics Flame of Hope around Germany and to Berlin for the Opening Ceremonies.
The 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games mark the return of the Games to Europe for the first time since the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens. The Games are bringing together more than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries to compete. This will be the fifth time that the World Summer Games have been held outside the United States. The others were in 2003 in Dublin, Ireland; 2007 in Shanghai, China; 2011 and 2019 in Abu Dhabi. The 2015 Games were held in Los Angeles.
For more information about the athletes and coaches named to the Special Olympics USA Team for the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games or about how you can help support their trip, contact Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or via e-mail at email@example.com.