Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) athletes Alex Guild, Olivia Quigley and Michael Huebner, along with their coaches, arrived back from Los Angeles on August 3rd, after representing their country in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games as part of the 304 members of Special Olympics Team USA. They brought home a total of 7 medals – 1 bronze, 2 silver, and 4 gold.
Olivia Quilgey has gained national attention with her battle of Stage 4 breast cancer while competing at the World Games. Her story has been featured on ESPN, USA Today, the Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated. Olivia will brought home a silver in the 200m run and 2 golds – one in the 4×100 relay and one in the 100m run. Alex Guild ran a personal best and broke an American Record in the half marathon capturing the gold. And on the same day won gold in the 4×400 relay with his Special Olympics teammates. Alex will bring home 2 golds along with one bronze in the 10,000m run. Michael Huebnber won silver in Bowling Doubles with a combined partner score of 854. Huebner also received a 4th place ribbon in Team Bowling and a 5th place ribbon in Bowling Singles.
We are very proud of what our Wisconsin athletes accomplished at the World Games. We are truly inspired by all of the athletes that competed, not only for Special Olympics USA, but from all over the world.
Some 6,500 athletes took part in contests ranging from weightlifting to soccer. Although not everyone won gold, silver or bronze medals, every competitor received a performance ribbon and a chance to take to the victory stand following their competition. An estimated 500,000 people turned out to watch at venues in and around Los Angeles.
Away from the competitions, thousands of athletes lined up at a medical center at the University of Southern California for the games’ Healthy Athletes program. Before it ended Saturday, more than 500 people, including some who could not hear at all, received needed hearing aids. More than 600 received new prescription glasses and more than 4,000 got new shoes.
The Special Olympics, which began in 1968, was the brainchild of President John Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. That first year’s games in Chicago drew about 1,000 athletes from 26 states and Canada.
Organizers say this year’s Special Olympics will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015.