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Two local athletes head to Greece with Special Olympics Team USA | News

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Two local athletes head to Greece with Special Olympics Team USA
Two local athletes head to Greece with Special Olympics Team USA

After months of rigorous training and preparation, two local Special Olympics athletes are finally on their way to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

Special Olympics Team USA, comprised of 315 athletes and 125 coaches, will unite June 25 – July 4 with 7,000 athletes from nearly 180 nations to compete in these World Games.  In addition, this vast event will draw more than 25,000 volunteers, 3,000 event officials and thousands of families, spectators and journalists from every continent.

Holiday resident Michael Tuason will compete in swimming and Mark Zak of Riverview will compete in cycling.

Michael and Mark will leave Orlando International Airport on Saturday, June 18 to join their fellow Special Olympics Team USA members in Baltimore, Maryland before the entire team departs for Greece.

Florida is sending a total of 18 athletes, who will compete in the sports of basketball, tennis, cycling, bocce, swimming, golf, and track. Visit Special Olympics Florida’s website for full athlete list and bios.

“Through hard work, dedication and commitment, Florida’s athletes will be amongst the most inspiring competitors in the world,” said Special Olympics Florida President Monty Castevens. “Competing in the World Games is a chance of a lifetime for these athletes, but also a chance for the rest of the world to witness the accomplishments and victories of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Team USA members were selected in 2010 and have been have been training in their home communities to get ready for Athens. Team Florida attended a Team USA training camp in San Diego, California, in March of 2011.  Athletes who were selected for Special Olympics Team USA qualified through their own state Special Olympics programs.

This will be the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games. Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics.  Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community.

Follow Team Florida at www.facebook.com/specialolympicsflorida. Meet team Florida at www.specialolympicsflorida.org.

For more information on Team USA, visit www.specialolympicsteamusa.org. The official Special Olympics World Summer Games website is www.athens2011.org/en/.

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