The Special Olympics USA Games kicked off last Sunday with the Opening Ceremony at Exploria Stadium in Orlando which included the parade of athletes, the lighting of the torch with many celebrity ambassadors like Tim Tebow and performances by Sara Bareilles, all live on ESPN.
The competitions started on June 6 and will continue until June 12. Athletes will participate in 19 different events: athletics, basketball, pétanque, bowling, cheerleading, equestrian sports, flag football, golf, gymnastics, open water swimming, powerlifting, football, softball, stand up paddleboarding, surfing, swimming, Tennis, Triathlon and Volleyball.
The USA Games bring together more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean.
The eight-member Flag Football team from Marshall County and two coaches made the trip to Orlando. The team competed on the outdoor grounds of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports where professional NFL players play each year during the Pro Bowl.
In the first competition of the Games, the Marshall County team lost a close game to the Maryland team 26-24 and played the District of Columbia on Tuesday and lost 56-7. According to coach Jonny Byrd, the team had a much better second half in this game. On Wednesday, they played Team Texas and won 35-12, which puts them in the medal table.
On Thursday, they lost to Illinois 25-13 after leading 13-12 at halftime, which put them into Friday’s bronze medal game against Pennsylvania where they lost 31-12 to sit. earn fourth place.
A welcome party is planned when they return to school around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Well-deserved congratulations to these athletes and coaches!