ORLANDO, Fla., June 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Last week, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, welcomed 5,500 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to Orlando to celebrate the inclusion, diversity and coming together to shine as one during the week-long event.
The City Beautiful provided a warm welcome to Special Olympics athletes and hosted 20 Olympic-style team and individual sports, including athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, bowling, pom-pom cheerleading, equestrian sports, flag football, golf, gymnastics and open water swimming. , powerlifting, football, softball, stand up paddle, surfing, swimming, tennis, triathlon and volleyball.
“Special Olympics USA 2022 has truly been an incredible opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate remarkable ability and teamwork,” said Joe Dzaluk, President and CEO, Special Olympics USA. 2022. “It was inspiring to watch the athletes participate in this unique experience, develop new friendships, create lasting memories and come together in a spirit of inclusion.”
On Saturday, June 11, the Closing Ceremony brought athletes, coaches and families together one last time to celebrate. The ceremony featured inspirational performances from Special Olympics New Jersey athlete Destiny Gerety, who sang “This Little Light,” the same song she sang in the Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving commercial, and author- singer-songwriter James Ian who lives with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Ian created SPACES, a one-of-a-kind musical collaboration designed to showcase the talents and humanity of people with disabilities to a wider audience, in partnership with Genentech and members of the SMA community.
Special Olympics USA 2022 highlights include:
- Over 6,500 medals and ribbons were awarded in nearly 1,000 medal ceremonies.
- The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games welcomed new sports into the competition for the for the first time, including cheerleading, horseback riding, open water swimming and surfing.
- The 2022 United States Special Olympics Healthy Athlete Experience, presented by Orlando Health, gave athletes the opportunity to receive free health screenings. The screenings covered seven health disciplines: podiatry, vision, dentistry, physiotherapy/fitness, nutrition and healthy habits, audiology and emotional well-being. In total, more than 12,000 free screenings were conducted in seven disciplines, and all athletes who tested in at least five disciplines received a free pair of shoes from Zappos. Over 100 athletes received free hearing aids and nearly 1,000 athletes received free eyeglasses.
- The USA Games had a expected economic impact of over $69 millionas families and fans came to Central Florida, stayed at local hotels and resorts, visited attractions and dined at restaurants.
- The largest peacetime airlift in the world — organized over two years by Textron Aviation — flew over 800 athletes to Orlando and home, on 128 private planes. The special call sign assigned to each aircraft was “Dove” – the universal symbol of peace. Peyton Manning greeted the athletes as they arrived at Orlando Executive Airport as planes landed every two minutes.
- Tim Tebow learned to surf at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in a lesson taught by Layla Crehanan athlete from Team Florida who competed in the 2022 Special Olympics USA.
Held every four years, the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Minnesota.
Video and photo highlights from the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games can be found here.
About Special Olympics USA 2022
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games were held June 5-12, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Jersey Mike’s Subs was the Presenting Partner and Walt Disney World Resort the Official Host. During this magical week, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean traveled to Florida to unite in one of the country’s most beloved sporting events. The American Games are held once every four years and feature 20 Olympic-style team and individual sports. 2022usagames.org
Media Relations Team
Photos accompanying this announcement are available at: