With Preparations Nearly Complete, Team Kentucky Ready to Head to the USA Games
After nearly a year of preparation, the next stop on the itinerary for Team Kentucky will be Seattle, Washington, and the 2018 USA Games!
Team Kentucky had its final official meeting in the lead up to the Games March 16-18 when all 45 athletes and 18 coaches gathered in Lexington for Training Camp. The weekend included practices for all eight Team Kentucky sports delegations, fittings for uniforms and team wear and games and events to help build team spirit. The team was joined for the first time at camp by Calloway County High School students Cheryl Chestnut and Kathryn Foster who will be attending the Games to participate in the Youth Leadership Experience. Chestnut, a Special Olympics athlete, and Foster, a Unified Partner, helped chronicle the camp through interviews with the athletes and photographs to help create a photo book of the experience.
Athletes who had never had the opportunity to fly before were also given the opportunity to go through the process of checking in, going through security and even boarding a plane so that they would know what to expect on travel day. The airport experience was made possible by Delta Air Lines, Blue Grass Airport and retired TSA agent and Special Olympics volunteer Pete Perry.
Our thanks to Tates Creek High School, Southland Bowl, Rock House Brewing, Legacy Gymnastics and the Whitaker Family YMCA in Lexington for hosting Training Camp practices and to O’Charley’s for providing dinner on Saturday night.
While athletes and teams will continue to practice ahead of the USA Games, and swimmers and track and field athletes will compete before the USA Games, the next time Team Kentucky will gather will be to make the trip to Seattle. The team will meet in Northern Kentucky on Friday, June 29, before flying out of Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport in two groups on June 30.
The Opening Ceremonies for the Games will be held at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington on July 1.
The total cost of sending Team Kentucky to the 2018 USA Games is expected to approach $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 2018 USA Games are the fourth such games in Special Olympics history. Past USA Games were held in 2006 in Ames, Iowa; 2010 in Lincoln, Neb.; and in 2014 in New Jersey. Athletes will stay on the University of Washington campus during the Games and most of the competition venues will be at the University.
The 2018 USA Games will bring together more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia to compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. Thousands of volunteers and spectators will also be a part of the Games. The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement and its 50th anniversary; promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport; and showcase athletes from throughout the U.S. and the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The 2018 USA Games will also highlight Special Olympics’ work in sport, education, health and community-building.