ORLANDO, Fla. — Team West Virginia recently had twenty-two athletes from across the state who earned the right to represent our state in Athletics, Bocce, Bowling, Golf and Swimming during the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex down in Orlando, Florida back on Sunday, June 5 to Sunday, June 12. The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games brought together more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to show off their talents in front of a crowd of 125,000 spectators.
The athletes of Team West Virginia enjoyed a successful week of competition, bringing home 24 total medals, 5 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze. Team West Virginia athletes also collected 8 fourth-place honors, 5 fifth-place honors, 12 sixth-place honors, 4 seventh-place honors, 2 eighth-place honors, as well as 2 Participation awards. On top of getting an opportunity to prove that they among the best in the nation in their chosen sports, the athletes of Team West Virginia made countless memories and represented our great state at the highest level.
During their time in Orlando, Team West Virginia was the embodiment of the core tenets of competition, friendship, inclusion and unity which make the Special Olympics such an amazing event. With the motto #ShineAsOne, representatives of Team West Virginia of handled themselves with integrity, purpose and character both on and off the fields of play.
Team West Virginia has already began prepping for next year as the athletes shift their focus to 2023. If interested, Special Olympics West Virginia (SOWV) offers training and competition in 18 Olympic-type sports. Currently Special Olympics West Virginia (SOWV) helps over 4,400 children and adults in West Virginia chase their athletic dreams. Because athletes compete at different levels of abilities, Special Olympics WV offers different levels of competition, Developmental, Intermediate, and Traditional. Special Olympics divisioning is a fundamental rule that athletes in competitions are matched up with others of the same gender, about the same age and most importantly, of about the same competitive ability.
Athletes train for a minimum of eight weeks with an average 1 to 2 practices per week in preparation for competition at any of the five state-level events, as well as the many local, area and regional events the organization helps stage. Sports competition is available for eligible athletes 8-years-old and older, and there is no age limit. Athletes may participate in Special Olympics as long as they would like.
Team West Virginia would like to thank sponsors Walmart and Jersey Mike’s Subs, as well as the families and friends for your support in helping make the trip to Orlando a reality. Team West Virginia would also like to issue a special thanks to Textron Aviation for taking care of the athlete’s transportation.