My Experience at the 2022 USA Games
By Zack Ryer, Athlete Leader and Member of Team Connecticut for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
When the final day of the Special Olympics USA Games was officially over, I was sad to see it go for now, but thanks to Special Olympics I was happier and smarter than ever. When I returned home from the Games, I could not stop remembering everything that happened.

I had done a lot of things for the Games in Florida such as interview athletes, support the Connecticut basketball and track teams, and work with younger kids by teaching them activities such as running through obstacle courses, kicking soccer balls into nets, and more.

Everything I did in Florida made me happier because everything we did was magical. The activities and courses that were set up and created for the athletes and other supportive people were fun, helpful, and inclusive for everyone.

During the USA Games, I met and befriended many new people. One specific person I befriended was someone named Joey who played basketball for Team Connecticut. We shared a strong bond and supported each other at all times. I also interviewed new people and friends who were and were not from Connecticut. Overall, the connections I made with everyone at the games were really meaningful.

After Special Olympics, my brain was bigger and better than ever. Back in Florida, I learned new things. For example, in our health check-up program, a video was played showing healthy athletes talking about how much sugar is in sports drinks. The video left me shocked after learning how much sugar is in popular sports drinks such as Gatorade and Monster Energy. After seeing that video, I learned a valuable lesson to not drink sports drinks during sports.

Even though the Special Olympics ended, I’m glad that I can bring all my joy and experiences back home.
2022 Special Olympics USA Games Team Connecticut Results
Unified Track (Shelton High School)
Shot Put: Kelly Stanley - Gold, Danielle Turcotte - Gold, Sophia Fabian - Bronze, and Ciara Foley - 4th place.
Long Jump: Josiah Kellogg - Gold, Matt Darak - Silver, Jason Loh - 5th place, Tyler Smith - participation
100M Run: Kelly Stanley - Gold, Danielle Turcotte - 4th place, Ciara Foley - 4th place, Sophia Fabian - 4th place 
200M Unified Run: Josiah Loh - Silver, Matt Darak - 4th place, Josiah Kellogg - 5th place, Tyler Smith - 6th place
4x100 (F): 4th place, 4x100 (M): Bronze, Overall Unified Competition - 8th place
Unified Basketball (Simsbury High School)
Kelsey Alanzo, Megan Alanzo, Jameson Bodenburg, Avery Dawe, Joseph Deliz, Josh Lubetkin, Justin Slattery, Charles Steniger, Maggie Sullivan, and Jack Taggard - 4th place
Addison Penna: Floor - Gold, Uneven Bars - Silver, Vault - Silver, Balance Beam - 4th place, All-Around - 5th place
Nadia Zafar: Floor - Silver, Balance Beam - Silver, Uneven Bars - Bronze, Vault - Bronze, All-Around - 4th place
Andrea DeBernardo: Floor - Gold, Uneven Bars - Gold, All-Around - Gold, Balance Beam - Bronze, Vault - 5th place
Traditional Track
Anthony Shonti: 4x400 - Gold, 5000M - Gold, 1500M - 4th place
Alex English: 4x400 - Gold, 5000M - Silver, 1500M - 7th place
Brandon Knight: 4x400 - Gold, 3000M - Bronze, 1500M - 4th place
Justin Mazza: 3000M - Silver, 1500M - Silver, 5000M - Bronze
Paul Kleva: 5000M - Gold, 3000 - Gold, 1500M - Silver 
Danielle Mola: 100M - Gold, 4x400 - Gold, 400M - 4th place
Katya Nardone: Long Jump - Silver, 200M - 4th place, 100M - 5th place
Will Geanuracos: Freestyle 50M - Bronze, Breaststroke 50M - 5th place, 4x50 Medley - 4th place
Stephen Emblidge: Breaststroke 50M - Gold, Butterfly 50M - 4th place, 4x50 Medley - 4th place
Anna Reagle: Backstroke 50M - Silver, Freestyle 50M - 7th place, 4x50 Medley - 4th place
Lia Muchin: Butterfly 50M - Bronze, Freestyle 50M - Bronze, 4x50 Medley - 4th place
Youth Leadership (Coginchaug Regional High School) - Zack Ryer and Mekhi Watson
These athletes represented Connecticut at workshops and activities during the week, assisted at a Young Athletes event, and conducted interviews with other Team Connecticut members. 
Athletes Demonstrate Speed, Determination at Summer Games
Track & Field Competition

The second weekend of Summer Games presented by Pratt & Whitney drew athletes, Unified partners, coaches, and volunteers together at Southern Connecticut State University for track & field competition, on June 11th and 12th. Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers and congratulations to all the competitors!

Mason Appointed President and CEO of Special Olympics Connecticut
The Special Olympics Connecticut Board of Directors announced the appointment of Michael Mason as its new President and CEO, effective August 29, 2022. 

Mason has over 40 years of volunteer and professional experience serving Special Olympics in a myriad of roles, both locally and internationally. He is presently Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for the organization, a position he's held for more than 20 years.

"It's an honor to be the next President and CEO of Special Olympics Connecticut. I'm thankful for my amazing wife Nora and sons Zach, Sam, and Ben who share my passion for the movement and have supported my work over the past 20 years. I am also thankful for our committed board and staff who make it all possible each day and the remarkable athletes and volunteers who inspire us. I am excited and humbled to have the opportunity to carry on the legacy Beau Doherty has created here in Connecticut over the past 36 years," Mason said.

Continue reading the announcement here
Donate to The Beau Fund, Double Your Impact
Double your impact by making a donation to The Beau Fund! Current and former members of the Special Olympics Connecticut Board of Directors will match all donations up to $100,000!

Retiring SOCT President Beau Doherty has changed millions of lives for the better through his dedication and determination to provide opportunity, joy, success, and a sense of belonging to people with intellectual disabilities through sports - and in the process, has inspired so many to open their hearts as well. Help us honor Beau and continue his important work.

Give to The Beau Fund before he retires on August 29th so your gift will be doubled by clicking here

Limited tickets are still available for our celebration of retiring SOCT President and CEO Beau Doherty at the Hartford Yard Goats game on July 31st. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Kelli Bigelow at kellib@soct.org.

Special Olympics Named One of America's Most Trusted Nonprofit Brands
Morning Consult, a widely respected measurement of brand trust which showcases companies and products that have earned or maintained consumer trust throughout the year, has named Special Olympics one of its top ten most trusted nonprofit brands of 2022. To view the full report, click here
Go Over the Edge at Mohegan Sun for Special Olympics, September 2nd
Over the Edge returns to Mohegan Sun on Friday, September 2nd! During the event, participants will rappel more than 30 floors down Mohegan Sun's Sky Tower to support year-round sports, health, and fitness programs for our athletes of all abilities across the state. Mohegan Sun, which is hosting the event for an eleventh year, is located at 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard in Uncasville. To find out more, register for the event and donate, click here
Thrill-seeking individuals of all ages, as well as pairs and groups - including teams representing local businesses and corporations, community organizations, schools and universities, and families - are encouraged to participate. Over the Edge provides a great bonding experience and one that will be memorable and meaningful - for you and for our athletes! Participants must raise a minimum of $1,000 to rappel and weigh 100 lbs. or more. No rappelling experience is required. 

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It's Easy to Plan for the Future with These Free Resources

If you're like many people, creating or updating your will or trust and other important documents often falls to the bottom of your "to do" list. We have made it easy for you to get started today with free publications to help you get organized and complete your plans while gaining peace of mind: https://solegacygiving.org/resources.

We welcome your feedback and contributions. Contact us at 203-230-1201 or specialolympicsct@soct.org.

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