Special Olympics Nebraska is proud to announce 5 athletes, 6 coaches, and 2 officials from Nebraska have been named to Special Olympics Team USA. The 491 member delegation will represent the United States at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, being held July 25-August 2, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.
Special Olympics Nebraska athletes competiting are Melissa Giersch (Tennis), Joseph and James Volpert (Bocce), Kendrick Luebbert (Powerlifting) and Garrett Petersen (Aquatics). Coaches for bowling are Rick Childree, Frank Mack, III, and Daniel Batchelor. Additional coaches are Dian Christensen (Aquatics), Christine Bader (Track and Field) and Barb Rolf (Bocce). Representing Nebraska as officials are Nichole Glover for Bocce and Kim Schmidt for Aquatics.
The U.S. “home team” will include 304 athletes and 43 Unified Partners competing in 17 sports, 102 volunteer coaches, and 42 volunteer sports and management team members, representing all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The team also includes several Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams, where people with and without intellectual disability compete together, as teammates.
Every two years, the world transcends the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion to come together for Special Olympics World Games. Alternating between summer and winter Games, this event is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, which promotes equality, tolerance and acceptance through the power and joy of sport. This prominent world stage brings attention to the Special Olympics movement and the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. Currently, more than 4.4 million Special Olympics athletes train and compete year-round in 170 nations across the globe.
“Special Olympics and attending World Games provides me the opportunity to watch our Nebraska athletes and coaches grow and to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Said Rick Childree, SONE Director of Sports and Competition and Team USA bowling coach. “Watching athletes from across the country come together and forming a cohesive team is very rewarding.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these athletes to demonstrate their athletic abilities, competing at the highest level on the world stage, and to have life and cultural experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” said Chris Hahn, Head of Delegation for Special Olympics Team USA. Hahn added, “I encourage every American to cheer on these inspiring athletes, to share in their triumphs and to take pride in knowing that they will represent our country with excellence and honor.”
Visit www.specialolympicsteamusa.org to meet the team and learn more.
More than 7,000 athletes from 177 nations will compete in 25 Olympic-type sports at the 2015 World Games, which marks the 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Kayaking, Half Marathon, Open Water Swim, Power Lifting, Roller Skating, Sailing, Softball, Soccer, Table Tennis, Team Handball, Tennis, Triathlon and Volleyball.
With an anticipated 30,000 volunteers and 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. ESPN is the official broadcast partner of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, allowing an unprecedented amount of viewers around the world to be introduced to the power of Special Olympics. To learn more, visit www.LA2015.org
Official sponsors for Special Olympics Team USA include Finish Line, Champion, The Coca-Cola Company, Tommie Copper, Midwest Trophy Manufacturing, KPMG – Golf team sponsor, Mattel – Cycling team sponsor and Speedo USA – Swimming team official supplier.
To learn more about Special Olympics Team USA and to follow the team to the World Games, visit www.specialolympicsteamusa.org, follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SOTeamUSA, Twitter @SOTeamUSA, Instagram: SOTeamUSA