Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) selected Tony Barton of Oshkosh as one of 62 athletes to represent Team Wisconsin at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in Princeton, New Jersey on June 14-21, 2014. Wisconsin athletes will compete in athletics, aquatics, bocce, bowling, flag football, gymnastics, powerlifting and volleyball.
Barton has competed in Special Olympics basketball, bowling, flag football, and softball for the past 12 years. He is not only involved with Special Olympics sports, he also participates in the Polar Plunge® and is an advocate for the Spread the Word to End the Word® campaign where he builds awareness of the harmful effects of the R-word (retard). This is Barton’s first time attending a Special Olympics USA Games.
“Its hard work getting this far. [The USA Games] has always been a dream of mine; this is my chance to make it come true!” he said.
According to Barton, Special Olympics has not only helped him believe in himself, try his best, and work with a team, it has also helped him stay on track with his health.
“Being in Special Olympics helped me get my weight under control,” he said.
Barton will compete in flag football and will be one of 86 delegates representing Team Wisconsin at the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey.
SOWI will host an official training camp for Team Wisconsin athletes on May 17-18, 2014 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The 2014 USA Games will showcase the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport, and celebrate the transformative power of Special Olympics. A total of 3,500 athletes, 1,000 coaches and delegates, 10,000 volunteers and 70,000 spectators will attend.
Sports competition will be held at venues throughout Mercer County, New Jersey, including Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Mercer County Park and several area private schools. There will be ample opportunities for supporters across the state to show their spirit and join the team through volunteerism, donations and attendance. For more information or to learn more about how you can support a local athlete, visit www.SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org/USAGames.