And they’re off! Six Special Olympics Southern California athletes have begun their trip to Abu Dhabi to represent Special Olympics USA at the 2019 World Games.
The Games Opening Ceremony will take place March 14 in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates at 11 a.m. ET. With this being the first time that the World Games will be held in the Middle East, this event will serve as a large milestone in the efforts of Special Olympics to create a more accepting and inclusive world for people with intellectual disabilities.
The SOSC athletes – Faith Demos (golf), Tyrone Garrett (track and field), Mark Hanson (tennis), Sarah Kovacs (track and field), Krystal Johnson (tennis) and Jonathan Pierce (swimming) – are among the 215 U.S. athletes competing in 18 sports.
The SOSC athletes left for Newark, N.J., to join the rest of the Special Olympics USA delegation on March 6. After a sendoff dinner in Newark, the next day the delegation headed for JFK Airport where they were greeted by WWE superstars Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
From March 9-11, Special Olympics USA athletes settled in and got acclimated to their new surroundings in the United Arab Emirates. Among the experiences were a Host Town welcome and a National Day celebration at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Coverage for the Games will be provided by ESPN’s host of networks, however please note that the times given below are listed in standard Eastern Time.