The Special Olympics Florida-Palm Beach County delegation recently saw several athletes perform at a high level at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando.
Boca Raton resident Kara Tynan won two gold medals after winning both singles bowling and unified team bowling while finishing fourth in doubles.
“Nationals was a dream come true because I won two gold medals,” she said. “Going to the World Games is also a dream.”
Lantana resident Elizabeth Smith won gold in unified team bowling and also took fifth place in unified doubles.
“Getting from being an athlete‘s parent to their unified partner and then being selected for the US Games, it was such a mind-blowing moment for me,” she said. “My son, Jordan, went to his first National Games in 2010 in Nebraska to bowl. So for me to leave 12 years later and follow in his footsteps was a fairy tale for me. To experience and share what he and so many others have done is an honor that will be dear to me for a very long time.
West Palm Beach resident Terrence Freelove won silver in team bowling, bronze in singles and fifth place in unified doubles. He also competes in surfing, basketball, track and field, and softball.
“It meant to me that I could improve and get better at myself,” he said. “It was such an honor and privilege to attend the games and represent Florida State and Palm Beach County. I made new friends, won two medals and a ribbon, and made Palm Beach County proud. Even though we all have different disabilities, we all shine as one.
Team USA Games Florida’s bowling coaching staff included Lake Worth residents Nancy and Mike Howard. They have already been recognized as 2020 Special Olympics Coaches of the Year and have also been nominated by Special Olympics Florida for the 2022 Special Olympics North America Coaches of the Year award.
“It’s hard to express the feeling we felt entering the stadium as they announced the arrival of the Florida team,” said Nancy Howard. “We attended the National Games as coaches in New Jersey and Seattle, but it was a completely different feeling to be announced as the home team. It was so cool to look around the stadium and see so many familiar faces, athlete families, friends, Special Olympics staff, celebrities and also to be the last delegation to enter the stadium. Everyone was waiting for us. »
Nancy Howard said she has been preparing for the 2022 US Games since last June after being selected as the bowling coach for Team Florida. They hosted a training camp last March and also held workouts in Fort Lauderdale and Port St. Lucie.
They competed at the Boardwalk Bowl during the USA Games, which is the largest bowling center in the Southeast with 80 lanes. The bowling competition had 302 athletes on the program, with participants ranging in age from 16 to 82 and featuring 44 states represented as well as Washington, DC, Aruba and the Bahamas.
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“We were told that we were chosen to lead the Florida Athletes not only because of our athletic knowledge, but also for our passion and commitment to the athletes and the mission of Special Olympics Florida,” she said. declared. “The 2022 Special Olympics USA provided a unique opportunity for 16 bowlers who had never attended the USA Games before. We visited Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, met members of the Harlem Globetrotters and made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Team USA Games Florida’s coaching staff also included West Palm Beach resident Kenny Lawrence (surfing), Delray Beach resident Fanny Hourigan (surfing), Jim McCullough (surfing), and Ryan Ruch (soccer), resident from Boynton Beach.
Delray Beach resident Ayla Hourigan won gold in level two surfing. Boca Raton resident Paul Rogers won gold in swimming in the 100m freestyle while finishing fourth in the 500m freestyle and 4x50m freestyle relay. Boynton Beach resident Jonathan Doring won silver in tennis in doubles and bronze in singles.
Jupiter resident Lindsay Fulop won a gold medal in golf after finishing first in level four (9-hole) individual stroke play. Lake Worth resident Ron Backus and Boca Raton resident Keith Porges teamed up and finished fourth in level two in Unified Alternate Fire (9 holes).
Ethan Borys won gold in Dressage Equestrian (level B1) and won two silver medals in English Riding (level B1) and English Working Trails (level B1). Chris Nardone won two bronze medals after competing in English Riding (BS Level) and English Working Trails (BS Level).
Wellington resident Katherine Broz also put in a strong performance and won the bronze medal in level two surfing. She also participates in bowling, open water swimming and athletics.
“It was so exciting and an honor to represent Florida at the National Games,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard with my coaches over the past five years to get better at surfing. The opening ceremonies were amazing and it was fun to see all the other athletes coming together in one place. Winning the bronze medal in women’s surfing made me cry with happiness and pride, I will never forget the National Games.