JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – For a week, Mississippi’s largest delegation of 173 members will be in Orlando, Florida for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games competing for national titles and their goal is to bring home the trophy.
Athletes, cheerleaders and coaches all packed their bags and loaded on to the buses with one thing on their mind– gold.
The Special Olympics USA Games are held every four years gathering athletes from all 50 states showcasing 19-olympic style teams and individual sports.
Representing from across Mississippi are 126 athletes, 45 coaches and staff.
“Only those athletes getting on these three buses that had the best score that they’re competing in will be doing their best at that sport in Orlando, Florida,” said President/CEO of Special Olympics Mississippi, Monica Daniels.
Bowling Coach Charles Cothern from Natchez said he is excited to compete on a national level with the best bowlers in the state.
“I’m elated. It’s just a blessing and a privilege. It’s just a golden opportunity that I’m going to take advantage of. Today is my birthday and this is my birthday present,” said Cothern.
When you have athletes, you also have support—parents.
“He’s running the four by one, long jump and he’s doing the 100M and he’s excited. He ouldn’t sleep last night. I couldn’t sleep neither, so we’re just ready to go to represent from Desoto county,” said Hosea Tate.
Also, on the bus ready to cheer on the teams— cheerleaders.
“You’ve got to jam with us. You’ve got to jam with us, the Mississippi Teams.”
The Special Olympics Game will begin on Sunday, June 5 and run through Sunday, June 12.