With less than 100 days to go before Opening Ceremonies, the 16 Special Olympics Kentucky athletes and eight coaches who have been selected to Team USA will head to Nashville, Tenn., July 12-16 to continue their preparations at the 2007 Special Olympics Team USA Training Camp as they get ready to represent the U.S. in the 2007 World Games in Shanghai.
In all, nearly 400 athletes and 150 coaches and managers will travel to Vanderbilt University to participate in sports training, team building activities and to learn about the Chinese culture in preparation for their September 27 th departure to China for the World Games, which take place October 2-11, 2007 and will feature nearly 7,500 athletes from 165 countries.
Country music superstar Jo Dee Messina and Olympic gold medallist Scott Hamilton are among the celebrities who will visit training camp to show their support of Team USA and participate in various events. These events include a presentation of Team USA's official gear where athletes, coaches and celebrities will unveil the new 2007 World Games uniform, an acoustic concert performed by Messina, who along with her band will play in a Unified softball game with Special Olympics athletes.
“The 2007 Special Olympics Team USA Training Camp is a continuation of the hard work, dedication and commitment that have enabled our athletes to become the world’s most inspiring competitors,” said Special Olympics North America Managing Director Bob Gobrecht. “Training camp provides an invaluable opportunity for our athletes to gain important skills, receive training under the direction of their head coaches, meet their fellow teammates, learn to work together as a team and get an idea of what they can expect at the World Games in Shanghai.”
A long-standing supporter of Special Olympics, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation donated $500,000 to assist in the coaching and training of Team USA athletes and fund their transportation to Shanghai for the World Summer Games. Bank of America employees also will volunteer at various Team USA send-off events across the country.
“The 2007 Special Olympics Team USA Training Camp simply would not be possible without partners like Bank of America and we are extremely grateful for their support and continued commitment to the athletes and the Special Olympics movement,” Gobrecht said. “The achievements of Team USA at the World Games will be a credit to the athletes, their coaches, and our nation and we thank our wonderful sponsors and all our fans throughout the U.S. for helping us as we get ready to meet and compete in Shanghai.”
“Bank of America is proud to provide Special Olympics Team USA athletes with the opportunity to demonstrate their outstanding accomplishments while learning from competitors from across the globe,” said Andrew Plepler, president, Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “We are honored to partner with Special Olympics and support the athletes and coaches as they prepare for a memorable experience at the World Games in China.”
Other Team USA sponsors include Columbia Sportswear, FedEx, Midwest Trophy and American Federation of Teachers.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be the largest international sporting event in 2007 and will showcase the Special Olympics movement, celebrating the abilities and accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics Kentucky executive vice president Trish Mazzoni (at podium) introduces the Kentucky athletes and coaches who will participate in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games as part of Team USA.
Meet the Team