Team Kentucky to Send 56 to Orlando in June 2022
Special Olympics Kentucky is thrilled to announce the team that will represent the Commonwealth as Team Kentucky at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, which will be held in Orlando, Fla., June 5-12, 2022. The team includes 34 athletes and eight Unified partners who will compete in eight sports at the Games. Kentucky is sending its first ever Unified team sports entry to the Games — a Unified collegiate level basketball team that will come from the Louisville area and the University of Louisville. For the second consecutive Games, Team Kentucky will also include an athlete, Unified partner and adult mentor who will take part in the Youth Leadership Experience that will be held in conjunction with the Games. Kentucky athletes will also compete in artistic gymnastics, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, swimming and track and field. Members of the Unified basketball team will be announced at a later date.
Much of the team was announced in a video presentation on August 31.
Team Kentucky will represent a diverse geographic cross section of the state. There are athletes from the Lexington and Bowling Green areas in addition to Louisville, Murray, and Northern Kentucky. Barren, Carter, Logan and Ohio Counties will be represented again. And Marshall County will have its first ever athletes on Team Kentucky.
This will be one of least experienced teams Kentucky has sent to the USA Games since the first Games in 2006. Only six of the 2022 Team Kentucky athletes and one Unified partner currently selected have ever competed in a USA Games in the past (although all of them competed in 2018). The bocce and flag football teams are entirely new to competition above the state level. Bowler Dallas Derringer has twice competed in the National Unified Bowling Tournament and Unified golfers Bryan and Kevin Cheely have competed in the Special Olympics National Invitational Golf Tournament. Eight of the Team Kentucky coaches will take USA Games experience with them to Orlando, and two have World Games experience.
The 2022 USA Games will be unique in that many of the competition venues will be part of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Walt Disney World. Other venues include the Rosen Aquatics Center, Orange County National Golf Center and Exploria Stadium, all of which are nearby.
“We’re excited to once again have the opportunity to send athletes and coaches to the USA Games,” said Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni. “Being selected to Team Kentucky for the Games is not only a tremendous honor for our athletes, but it offers a great opportunity for personal growth. We have seen many of our athletes be transformed by this experience at the previous four USA Games that have been held. Plus, with these Games being held largely at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, it will be a one-of-a-kind environment and a chance to compete in world-class facilities.”
Kentucky athletes have a history of success at the USA Games. Since the Games began in 2006, Team Kentucky athletes have captured 162 USA Games medals, including 48 in the 2018 Games. In 2006 Taylor Mill athlete Matt Minning was presented the first gold medal in USA Games history after winning his division of the 10,000 meter run on the first day of the Games.
The total cost of sending Team Kentucky to the 2022 USA Games is expected to exceed $100,000. For information about how you can help sponsor the team or to make a donation, contact Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will unite more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean during one of the country’s most cherished sporting events–the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. The USA Games will offer 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports, including athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, bowling, cheerleading, equestrian, flag football, golf, gymnastics, open water swimming, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stand up paddleboard, surfing, swimming, tennis, triathlon and volleyball.