The 2022 Special Olympics USA kicked off Sunday morning with the opening ceremony at Exploria Stadium. The USA Games runs through June 12, with most events taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at the Walt Disney Resort.
Here’s what you need to know:
- More than 5,500 athletes and coaches from across the country compete in 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout the week.
- The number of events is the highest in USA Games history.
- The number of athletes combined with the more than 125,000 spectators expected to attend this year’s Games make them the largest US Games in history.
- Sports include: basketball, bocce, bowling, cheerleading, horseback riding, flag football, golf, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, softball, surfing, tennis, volleyball -ball and a triathlon.
- A full calendar of events to be found on the official website of the event.
- The USA Games will be Florida’s largest ever humanitarian event, according to its website, as more than 10,000 volunteers help with scorekeeping, operations and marketing.
- In addition to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, USA Games will also be held at various locations in Orlando including: Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Lake Minneola Waterfront Park, Lucy’s Lake, Orange County National Gold Center, Osceola Heritage Park, Rosen Aquatic Center and USTA National Campus.
- While all 50 states will be represented at the USA Games, Florida has the most delegates involved with 605.
- This number includes athletes, unified partners, coaches and support staff.
- The awards ceremonies began on Tuesday, June 7 and the closing ceremony on June 11 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN Wide World of Sports.
- The 2022 U.S. Games Ambassadors are comprised of seven Hall of Famers, 14 Olympic medalists and professional athletes who have appeared in more than 80 All-Star Games, Pro Bowls and other championship games.
- A number of Ambassadors have won entertainment awards and accolades with over 200 major nominations, three Academy Awards and over 125 Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, Tonys and SAG Awards.
- This year’s ambassadors include comedian Jimmy Kimmel, actress Brie Larsen, NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino and NBA star Ja Morant, among many others.