Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH) athletes hail from every corner of the state with Local Programs of assorted sizes in every county in New Hampshire. These athletes train and compete regularly at their own local level and, when there’s no pandemic, meet to compete on the state level throughout the year. Every four years, athletes from all over the country gather for the Special Olympics USA Games. This year’s national competition will be held in Orlando, Florida June 5-12, 2022.
The USA Games take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and eight other venues in Central Florida. The event’s opening ceremonies will be produced by the Disney Live Entertainment division. The week-long competition will feature more than 5500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states as well as the Caribbean.
The New Hampshire delegation is the largest one SONH has ever sent to a USA Games event, comprised of 116 athletes, Unified Partners and volunteers.
The weekend of April 1-3, 2022 marked some milestones for Special Olympics New Hampshire.
- The teambuilding event, held in Waterville Valley, April 1st – April 3rd was the first gathering of the full Team New Hampshire Delegation ahead of the USA Games.
- The teambuilding event allowed participants the opportunity to meet, train, bond as Team NH to prepare for the upcoming games in Florida.
- Almost all of the athletes and volunteers had not seen each other in person in more than two years. Since the group is comprised of participants from across the Granite State, many of them are meeting for the first time.
You could feel the excitement in the air as athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers spent time catching up in-person and found their way to their lodging for the weekend. The delegation split their time between Waterville Valley’s Valley Inn, Silver Fox Inn and Black Bear Lodge. Several events were also held at the Waterville Valley Community Recreation Center located within walking distance of the hotels.
Athletes and coaches spent the weekend kicking off each morning with an early morning walk/run, sharpening their interviewing skills, exercising, mapping out training plans between now and June and getting to know all who will be involved in sending the largest-ever SONH delegation to a USA Games event. In that regard the weekend was the first step for the team that will be making history for SONH.
In between scheduled events there was some time for socializing, reconnecting with old friends and forming bond with new teammates. Team New Hampshire has an official team cheer and there were even lessons on the official team handshake for the delegation.
“After limited in-person activity during the past two years, the USA Games will be like diving into the deep end of the pool for all of us. The USA Games are a once-in-a-lifetime experience” according to SONH President and CEO Mary Conroy. Following the Teambuilding Weekend athletes will return home and continue training for June’s national competition. “Our athletes will be participating in ten sports in Florida and are so pumped and proud to be representing New Hampshire” Conroy continued.
Team New Hampshire will continue to train for the games ahead and look forward to representing the Granite State in Florida in June!