Special Olympics Team Kentucky continues USA games preparation this weekend

Athletes will be at Richmond training camp

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – For the first time since the team was named in mid-2021, all 60 athletes, Unified partners and coaches who make up Team Kentucky for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will gather in one place this weekend.

According to Mark Buerger, the communications director for Special Olympics Kentucky, the team will meet March 18-20 in Richmond for Team Kentucky Training Camp. The camp is designed to give the athletes an opportunity to get to know one another, and for athletes who live in different parts of the state than their USA Games coaches to get to know their coaches and practice with their USA Games teammates. It also provides a test run for athletes and coaches for living in a setting that approximates what they will be in at the USA Games.

Organizers say each of the eight sport delegations that will represent Kentucky at the USA Games will practice on Saturday.

Team Kentucky features athletes and Unified partners from throughout Kentucky, including Alexandria, Almo, Benton, Bowling Green, Calvert City, Crestwood, Dexter, Elizabethtown, Finchville, Franklin, Gilbertsville, Glasgow, Hawesville, Lexington, Louisville, Murray, Newport, Ohio County , Olive Hill, Rockport, Russellville, Shepherdsville, Union and Versailles.

The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando, Florida, will unite more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean during 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.

Organizers with Special Olympics Kentucky, say the state has had tremendous success at the USA National Games. In Seattle in 2018, 45 Kentucky athletes claimed a program-record 50 medals, including 20 golds. In 2014, 48 Team Kentucky athletes combined to win 36 medals including 18 gold. 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.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation in competitive events is open to all individuals eight years of age or older. Training and competition in local, area, state, and national programs is offered year-round in Kentucky in 15 sports.

Special Olympics celebrated its global 50th anniversary in 2018.

For more information on Special Olympics Kentucky, click HERE.

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