Who else spent most of February on the couch watching the Olympics in Sochi? From ice dancing to bobsled to skiing, there was something for everyone. In June, Olympic fervor comes to the states for the 2014 USA Games. Three Fresno area students have been chosen to represent Northern California!
Bullard High School’s Miguel will compete in track & field events. Fellow Bullard Knight Irene and Clovis North student Riana will make the trip to attend the Special Olympics Youth Leadership Summit that’s happening during the Games.
Many of the students receiving special education services in Fresno compete in our Schools Partnership Program and in our general sports program (click here to see more about sports). Several of them also competed at our Summer Games, which you can read about here and here.
What Are USA Games?
Every four years, Special Olympics holds national Summer Games that includes athletes from all 52 U.S. programs. At the 2014 Games, competitions will be held in both traditional (athletes with intellectual disabilities only) and unified (those with and without disabilities competing together) settings. From June 14-21, more than 3,500 athletes from the U.S. will compete in 16 sports before tens of thousands of fans and volunteers. Through the USA National Games, Special Olympics athletes transcend the boundaries of geography, gender, age, cultures and religion to lead a change in understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities.
How Does Athlete Selection Work?
The National Games Organizing Committee determines the number of athletes each state program can send to the Games. From there, Special Olympics Northern California athletes were selected from a blind draw based on the results of gold medalist in the 2013 Summer Games (for aquatics and track & field) and regional tournaments held in March 2013 (for basketball).
What’s the Youth Summit About?
Irene and Riana are two of 100 youth from every state and the District of Columbia who will attend the week-long Summit.
The Youth Summit will focus on how sports can be a platform for a social justice movement and how to creative effective campaigns for chance. They’rell get to get ideas for their schools and community from people just like Irene and Riana from all over the country. As part of the week’s festivities, the youth will also help plan the Unified Sports Festival, where community members can participate in sport with the Special Olympics athletes.
What Will the Games Be Like?
Magic. Our athletes will fly cross-country to New Jersey, where they’ll compete and get the experience of a lifetime. Highlights of the USA Games include:
• Opening Ceremonies at the Prudential Center at the Prudential Center
• Amusement rides, games and more at the festival-style Special Olympics
• Views of Manhattan and New Jersey on a Hudson River cruise
• Trenton Thunder (AA) baseball game, where they’ll be honored
• Closing Ceremonies at the Sun National Bank Center
Good luck to all our athletes!