3 LOCAL ATHLETES AND 2 COACHES NAMED TO SPECIAL OLYMPICS TEAM USA
491 Athletes and Coaches to Represent U.S. at 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games
TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- Special Olympics Oklahoma is proud to announce that 3 athletes and 2 coaches from Oklahoma 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.
Casey Butcher from Vinita will compete in Athletics. Butcher is 18-years-old and has competed in Special Olympics for 3 years. He has competed in Special Olympics sports including Athletics, Bocce, Bowling and Horseshoes. He is a senior at Vinita High School. Butcher is an accomplished athlete who represented Oklahoma at the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey. He won a silver medal in the High Jump, bronze medal in the 400M, and 4th place ribbon in the Mini Javelin and 4x100M Relay. “I am a stronger athlete because of my competition and commitment to Special Olympics training,” said Butcher. “I have made many new friends and have become a better person. My vision for Special Olympics in the future is to see worldwide acceptance of kids like me.” Butcher considers attending World Games to be an honor by representing his family, community and country. “I am excited to attend my very first World Summer Games!” said Butcher.
Kendal Davis from Tahlequah will compete in Athletics. Davis is 25-years-old and has competed in Special Olympics for 12 years. She loves competition and has accumulated 13 medals competing in Special Olympics Oklahoma Athletics. Davis is very involved in her community and serves as a volunteer for Summer Camps at NSU; Lowrey Fire Department; Cherokee Elementary in the Special Education class; and, at Tahlequah City Hospital. “I love Special Olympics events and cheering for my Team, the Tahlequah Outlaws!” said Davis. “Being able to compete at World Games means that I will compete with athletes from all over the world and the opportunity will make my dreams come true. I am excited to compete in my best sport which is the 400M Walk and the 200M run events.”
Elizabeth Hubert from Catoosa will compete in Powerlifting. She is 18-years-old and has competed in Special Olympics for 9 years. Hubert is a senior at Catoosa High School and is a stocker in the bakery department at Walmart. She has competed in Special Olympics sports including Athletics, Basketball, Bowling, Football, Powerlifting and Volleyball. Hubert represented Oklahoma at the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey with the Catoosa Unified Flag Football team and they brought home with a 4th place win. “I am so excited to get to represent Oklahoma at World Games in Los Angeles!” said Hubert.
Dennis Story from Ada will coach Golf. Story has been involved in volunteering with Special Olympics Oklahoma for 40 years. He is a certified coach in Athletics, Bowling and Golf. He is a retired school teacher and administrator. “Special Olympics has allowed me to coach at different levels and make a positive impact on the lives of Special Olympics athletes,” said Story. “My vision for the future of Special Olympics is continued growth for opportunities in training and sport competitions, especially growth in Unified Sports. Attending World Games is a chance to participate in a gathering of athletes from all over the world. I am honored to be chosen to help coach America’s Team USA Athletes!”
Caleb Shoaf from Yukon will coach Athletics. Shoaf has been involved in volunteering with Special Olympics Oklahoma for 16 years and is a certified coach in Athletics, Bocce/Horseshoes, Bowling, Soccer, Softball and Volleyball. He is employed at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and is a Case Manager. “Special Olympics has helped me realize what true, unconditional friendship is. The athletes have shown me that if you work hard enough and stay dedicated to your dreams that you can accomplish anything,” Shoaf said. “I learned about the joy of volunteering with Special Olympics from my mother. She coached Special Olympics athletes for 30 years.”
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, 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
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About Special Olympics Oklahoma
The Mission of Special Olympics is to provide a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Today more than 10,500 Special Olympics Oklahoma athletes participate in more than 140 sports competitions and training clinic opportunities every year. Competition is offered in 16 official sports. There are opportunities for thousands of volunteers. Visit www.sook.org or call 918-481-1234 for more information.