2022 Evanston Special Olympians return and review the 2022 USA games

Even before the city council honors on June 27, the roundtable was able to bring together the athletes of the Special Olympics Evanston 2022 in the United States.

And although the post-event interview had to be virtual because several of the athletes came down with COVID-19, it was still celebratory as the spirit and enthusiasm of the Olympians never wavered.

Special Olympics USA 2022 website. Evanston Special Olympics Athletes Credit: Submitted

Recapping their trip to Orlando, Florida, and their experience competing (or watching athletes compete) on a national stage, the five athletes and their families and coaches made it easy to believe the hype for the games: it was indeed the happiest place on earth. .

Ten people participated in a Zoom call on Wednesday, June 15, including: Evanston’s five Special Olympians, Caroline Colianne, Kirk Nelson, Alex Anderson, Grayson Deeney and Riley Hoffman; two of the coaches, Leonard Woodson and Matt Nelson (no relation to Kirk), and at least one group of parents, Mike and Jane Colianne, each used superlatives for the experiences. Kirk’s mother, Sandra Nelson, added her perspective in a phone call later that evening.

Each athlete was delighted to talk about their performance in their particular event, and the young men proudly wore their medals. They have enjoyed meeting athletes from other states and plan to continue their newfound friendships via social media and telephone.

Caroline especially enjoyed trading state pins with new friends and was disappointed that she didn’t receive a pin from each of the other 49, despite her best efforts.

From their morning flight to Orlando from O’Hare International Airport courtesy of United Airlines, the Illinois team members were treated like celebrities.

Wherever they went, they were congratulated and applauded. They enjoyed entering the stadium during the opening ceremony and loved the Disney characters dancing on stage.

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