Special Olympics USA delegation for 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi officially announced

October 25, 2018 Events, Press

Special Olympics USA Team Named

313 Athletes, Coaches and Staff to Represent USA at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Madison, Wis. (PRESS RELEASE) – Special Olympics USA is proud to announce that it will send a 313-member delegation to represent the United States at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, being held March 14-21, 2019, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Special Olympics USA comprises 216 athletes, 63 coaches and approximately 34 delegation members who support team operations. Team members will compete in 18 of the 24 sports offered: athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics – artistic, gymnastics—rhythmic, open water swimming, powerlifting, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, and volleyball.

Special Olympics Wisconsin will be represented on Special Olympics USA’s delegation in four sports:

• Athlete Joanna Stein and Unified partner Patricia Pipkorn (both from Green Bay) will compete in Unified Bowling
• Athlete Ryon Knodl and Unified partner Ken Kuemmerlein (both from West Allis) will compete in Unified Golf
Bonita Kahn of Tomahawk, Steve Meurett of Neillsville and Debra Moore-Gruenloh of Nekoosa will coach Athletics (track and field)
Melissa Maxwell of Eau Claire will serve as sport manager for tennis

Left to right: athlete Joanna Stein, athlete Ryon Knodl (top), Unified partner Patricia Pipkorn and Unified Partner Ken Kuemmerlein

Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams consist of people with and without intellectual disabilities competing together as teammates. These will be the most inclusive Games to date. Special Olympics USA will have representation in the following Unified Sports: basketball, bocce, golf, sailing, soccer, table tennis, tennis, and volleyball.

In addition to the members of the Special Olympics USA delegation, Special Olympics Wisconsin will also be represented in Abu Dhabi by athlete Zechariah Tietz of Milwaukee and Officer Bryan Wangnoss of the Burlington Police Department, who will participate as Torch Runners in the Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg for Special Olympics in the week prior to the World Games. As members of the international team of law enforcement personnel and Special Olympics athletes, Tietz and Officer Wangnoss will help carry the Flame of Hope torch to every corner of the United Arab Emirates to raise awareness for the World Games and the mission of Special Olympics.

To learn more about Special Olympics Wisconsin’s presence at the 2019 World Games, visit /2019-world-games/. To learn more about the Special Olympics USA delegation, please visit www.specialolympicsusa.org for a full team listing, photos and bios.

Special Olympics USA is the national team that represents the United States at the Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games. Team members compete in an array of the 32 official Special Olympics summer and winter sports, in individual and team formats.

Every two years, the world transcends the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion to come together for the Special Olympics World Games. Alternating between summer and winter Games, this event is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, which promotes inclusion, equality, and acceptance around the world.

“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 USA. “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.”

This is expected to be the largest Special Olympics World Games in history. An estimated 7,500 athletes from 176 nations will compete in 24 Olympic-type sports at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019: athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics – artistic, gymnastics—rhythmic, handball, judo, kayaking, open water swimming, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, and volleyball.

ESPN’s global television networks and digital media will bring extensive coverage to sports fans and supporters of the Special Olympics movement around the world. As the official broadcast partner of Special Olympics, ESPN’s television coverage will be carried across its networks in the U.S. as well as streamed through WatchESPN and the ESPN App.

Bank of America is the Premier Sponsor of Special Olympics USA. Champion is the Official Supplier and Supporter of Special Olympics USA. MTM is Recognition Partner of Special Olympics USA.

To follow Special Olympics USA, visit www.specialolympicsusa.org, and follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/specialolympicsusa,Twitter: @specialolyUSA, and Instagram: @specialolympicsusa. Hash Tag: #Cheer4USA

For more information about the Special Olympics Wisconsin delegates please contact Tommy Jaime at tjaime@specialolympicswisconsin.org.

About the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi (AD2019)

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019. From March 14 to 21, 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing more than 176 nations will participate in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in venues throughout Abu Dhabi. The first ever Special Olympics World Games to be held in the Middle East and North Africa will also be the most unified Games in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement, with inclusion of people of determination with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event. Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is an integral part of local, national and regional plans to expand opportunities for people of determination in line with Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s shared vision of a unified and inclusive society. For more information on Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit abuDhabi2019.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Special Olympics Wisconsin

Special Olympics Wisconsin is a statewide organization of the Special Olympics movement that unleashes the transformative power and joy of sports everyday around the world. Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics has been empowering people with intellectual disabilities for 50 years, leading to a more welcoming and inclusive society. With the support of donors, coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Wisconsin provides year-round sports training and more than 100 athletic events in 18 Olympic-type sports to 10,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities. Join our online community by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! For more information, visit SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org or call (608) 222-1324.

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