Special Olympics Kentucky is proud to announce the team that will represent the State as Team Kentucky at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, which will be held June 14-21, 2014, in New Jersey. The team includes 38 athletes, one unified partner and 16 coaches. Kentucky athletes will be competing in seven sports at the Games — Aquatics (swimming), Artistic Gymnastics, Athletics (Track and Field), Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Flag Football and Golf.
Team Kentucky athletes hail from throughout the state and the team comprises a solid mix of athletes with experience at this level as well as athletes who have never been to competition above a state-level event. The 2014 Team Kentucky mix also includes athletes from London in Laurel County and Wittensville in Johnson County — areas that have never previously been represented on Team Kentucky.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will be the third USA Games that Special Olympics has held. Previous games were held in 2006 in Ames, Iowa, and 2010 in Lincoln, Neb. The Games will bring together 3,500 athletes and 1,000 coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Games will feature 14 sports as well as a number of cultural and social activities for the athletes. Each athlete will go on a dinner cruise around Manhattan and attend a minor league baseball game. There will also be opportunities to receive free health screenings at the Healthy Athletes venue and a chance to spend time at Olympic Town, an interactive festival-style area.
Kentucky has had tremendous success at the Special Olympics USA Games. The 2010 Team Kentucky group consisted of 39 athletes and claimed 34 medals, including 10 Golds. The 2006 National Games team saw 42 athletes capture 42 medals, including 18 Golds.
“We are very excited to be able to introduce Team Kentucky,” said Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni. “We have a team of very accomplished athletes and coaches that represents probably as broad a cross section of the state as we’ve ever been able to send to the Games. We know how proud all of them are to represent Kentucky and we know they will represent the state in a way that will make all of Kentucky proud. We can’t wait for the Games to get here to share their accomplishments with everybody.”
The cost of sending the 56-person Team Kentucky contingent to the National Games is expected to exceed $60,000 to include the cost of uniforms, training, transportation, housing, equipment and meals.