Jacksonville stand-up paddle board athlete Megan Bell has one plan this week as she joins 20 other athletes from Northeast Florida at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando.
“I’m going to do my best and have fun,” the 31-year-old star said during Friday’s game drive, with Jaguars Roar cheerleaders, the team’s D-Line drumline and a police motorcycle escort.
First time competing at the U.S. Games. which takes place every four years, he has been training for the competition for over a year.
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“I’ve been working out and eating healthy,” Bell said. “… I’m not afraid. I’m ready!”
Echoing “Go get the gold!” cheers were repeated as players, coaches and families boarded the bus outside TIAA Bank Field, golfer Amanda Bussey raised her arms in celebration.
“I’m going to win a gold medal,” he said. “Golf is fun.”
Florida plays large at U.S. Special Olympics
Twenty-one runners, jumpers, swimmers, bowlers, equestrians, surfers and competitors in four other sports are competing this week from Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Putnam, Flagler, Volusia and Clay. Read also : Jaguars sign pawfensive lineman Maurice Bones-Drew to 2022 roster. They are part of 600 Special Olympians from Florida, the largest state that competed at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Exploria Stadium, U.S. Tennis Association’s National Campus and eight other locations near Orlando.
This will be a great event for local athletes, said Special Olympics Northeast Florida Regional Director Justin Copertino. But he said their chances are “gold, only gold.”
“These players have been practicing this for a long time, more than a year,” he said. “With everything we’ve been through with the epidemic, it’s good to be back, and this will be the experience of a lifetime, I told them.”
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Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics has 190 locations around the world. The organization provides sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities so they can be physically active and participate with other athletes and the community.
The Jacksonville regionals were held on April 9th with 400 athletes from Duval and eight other areas competing in multiple sports at Atlantic Coast High School. Then on May 20 and 21, 600 Florida athletes competed in the State Summer Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
Now they have returned to the Orlando area to compete on the 19th Olympic team and individual sports. Northeast Florida athletes will compete in swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, golf, track, tennis, triathlon, equestrian, surfing, powerlifting and bowling.
Trained and ready for the games to begin
The Jacksonville Jaguars held a game Friday in the TIAA Bank Lounge, which began with all the players and their families reciting the official oath that begins with “Let me win,” and ends with “let me persevere” if they can’t. On the same subject : Titletown Tailgate welcomes new high school students from Bridgeport, West Virginia..
Charles Moreland, deputy city manager, thanked the players for their work representing Jacksonville and the First Coast.
“It’s an exciting time to be so close to the games in Orlando,” he said. “We hope the Floridians attending the Special Olympics will be cheering you on to the greatest success you can achieve. We have a home field advantage!”
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Each player stood, waved and sometimes cheered as they were officially introduced as many mothers and fathers applauded as they were given.
As she waited to board the bus after her daughter’s golf clubs were delivered, Julie Bussey said she felt good about daughter Amanda at the U.S. Games. The 37-year-old started playing golf 12 years ago when the Tournament Players Championship started the Special Olympics golf program.
“I think her chances are really good,” said her mother, who plans to walk the course where her daughter competes for four days.
“Amanda is brave enough,” he said. “I think that’s what makes him a better golfer. He knows he’s going to hit it well.”
Susan Bell has a lot of confidence in her daughter Megan Bell who shows up on the billboard.
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“He’s gone to Orlando and Daytona for training,” his mother said. “This has been a year-long training for him. … All he can do is give it his best. He knows what to do because he’s trained well.”
Other Duval County competitors include: Daniel Calloway, sports/track and field; Ryan Luck, golf; Sarah Appleton, swimming; Caleb Prewitt, triathlon; and Jennifer Hartley, triathlon.
“It’s great to see all the smiles and everyone’s happy,” Copertino said as Jaguars cheerleaders, Jaxon DeVille and fans prepared to send off. “This is what it is.”
About 125,000 viewers will watch the competition live, starting with the opening game broadcast from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday on ABC-TV from Exploria Stadium. Coverage continues throughout the week on ESPN and ESPN2, with broadcast coverage on ESPN3. The full broadcast schedule is at bit.ly/3PSpcqi.
And the local Special Olympics doesn’t end with the U.S. Games. Duval County’s Special Olympics is hosting the July 16 Area 4 Surfing Competition at Little Talbot Island State Park.
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Our programs provide participants with physical fitness and conditioning; improvement of balance, coordination and body control; increase in sportsmanship and competitive skills; and increased self-confidence and social skills. But Special Olympics is about more than sports and fitness.
What is the difference between the Special Olympics and the Paralympics?
What is the difference between the Special Olympics and the Paralympics? The main difference between the Special Olympics and the Paralympics is that while the former is only for people with intellectual disabilities, the latter is mainly for athletes with disabilities. To see also : A former cheerleading coach and high school teacher has been charged with possessing and displaying sexually explicit images and videos and luring a minor into sexual activity..
Are the Special Olympics the same as the Paralympics? The Paralympics and Special Olympics differ in three important ways. Meanwhile, the Special Olympics differ from the Paralympics in three main areas: the nature of their organizations, the disabled groups of athletes and the style and philosophy in which they participate.
Do Special Olympic athletes get paid?
In fact, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) does not pay athletes a cent for their appearance in the Olympics. Runners must pay their way from their own pockets or other means. Here’s a look at how some of them did exactly that, as well as what former Olympians are doing in their careers.
Do you get paid for breaking the world record in track and field? A single prize of $50,000 will be awarded to one runner if the same runner sets more than one record in the same race. However, if different athletes should set World records at any of the official distances mentioned above, then each of these athletes will receive one payment of $50 each.