491 Athletes and Coaches to Represent U.S. at 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games
NORMAL, Ill. – Special Olympics Illinois is proud to announce that 15 athletes and 8 coaches from Illinois 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-Aug. 2, 2015, in Los Angeles, Calif. In addition, 5 residents from Illinois will be officiating at the Games.
The following will represent Illinois at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games (click on names to access bios online):
- Christopher Nichol – Athlete, Conquerors Leaning Tower, Niles
- Jeff Price – Assistant Coach, Parent Teacher Organization for Exceptional Children, Belleville
- Gillian Dabrowski – Athlete, CUSR, Champaign
- Craig Ameel – Assistant Coach, Hersey High School, Arlington Heights
- Jacob McManus – Athlete, Bravehearts, Popular Grove
- Thomas Walmsley – Assistant Coach, Dreamcatchers, Decatur
- Michelle Thompson – Athlete, Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, Aurora
- Jennifer Hitt – Assistant Coach, Parent Teacher Organization for Exceptional Children, Belleville
- Glen Marks – Assistant Coach, Elk Grove Gymnastics, Elk Grove
- Kevin Bush – Athlete, Pathway Services Unlimited, Jacksonville
- Anthony Cahoon – Athlete, Parent Teacher Organization for Exceptional Children, Belleville
- Miguel Castillo – Athlete, Thornwood High School, South Holland
- Michael Henderson – Athlete, Loyola Park, Chicago
- Brandon Morrissey – Athlete, Opportunity House, Sycamore
- Israel Rivera – Athlete, Loyola Park, Chicago
- Matthew Sherman – Athlete, Opportunity House, Sycamore
- Ryne Stolarz – Athlete, Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, Carol Stream
- Keith Tyler – Athlete, Kosciuszko Park, Chicago
- Antonio Williams – Athlete, Loyola Park, Chicago
- Cody Zimmer – Athlete, Opportunity House, Sycamore
- Bailey Brenner – Assistant Coach, Special Olympics Illinois Staff Member
- Megan Clodi – Head Coach, Vernon High School
- Richard Crothers – Assistant Coach, Parent Teacher Organization for Exceptional Children, Belleville
Team USA Staff
- Carolyn Klocek – Assistant Sport Manager for Team Sports, Special Olympics Illinois Staff Member
- John Coleman – Tennis Official, Downers Grove
- Pam Delnagro – Tennis Official
- Nancy Hoekstra – Tennis Assistant Technical Delegate, Homewood
- Robert Reczek – Basketball Official, Mokena
- Tom Schell – Bocce Official
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.
“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, powerlifting, 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
About Special Olympics Illinois
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,500 traditional athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 18,500 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.
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Michele Evans, Special Olympics Illinois, 309-660-8497
Alexandra McMillin, Special Olympics Illinois, 630-942-5621