A few area individuals will be among the delegation as Special Olympics Connecticut sends a team to participate in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle next week.
Team Connecticut members will represent the state and compete in golf, tennis, bowling, track and field, swimming and basketball at the USA Games. The delegation also includes coaches, volunteers, youth leaders, and a Unified team of brothers who will compete in a video gaming tournament sponsored by Microsoft.
Anthony Thibeault of Southington will compete in unified golf. He has competed with Special Olympics since he was 16 - more than 22 years. While he competes currently in soccer, golf and volleyball, he has competed in track and field, bowling and basketball during his tenure with Special Olympics.
According to his profile at the Special Olympics Connecticut website, Thibeault likes to stay involved in social settings and Special Olympics helps him achieve that. He said, “I am excited and thrilled to represent Connecticut. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity - a dream come true! All the coaches, staff, volunteers, partners, and athletes are phenomenal. They are patient and kind to everyone’s needs. We’re like family.”
Dale Akerley of Bristol will compete in unified golf. He joined Special Olympics Connecticut in 2016 as a unified partner. When Akerley is not volunteering, he is playing golf and rooting for the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys. Dale also spends time with his wife Robin and sons Austin and Preston.
When asked how Special Olympics has changed his life, Akerley said, according to the website, “I enjoy the time I spend with the athletes and seeing their enjoyment through sports is a wonderful thing to see.”
Paul Tetreault of Newington will compete in unified tennis. He has been involved with Special Olympics Middletown for more than six years, competing in honor of his brother-in-law Danny, who has an intellectual disability. He is looking forward to spending time with his Unified Teammate Brett and getting to know him better while they compete against and become friends with other athletes, partners, and coaches from around the country.
The best part about Special Olympics Connecticut, Tetreault said, is “it’s not all about the sports. While that is certainly why we gather together, the best part is forming relationships with the athletes, parents, and coaches. We are all one big family learning from each other, sharing smiles, tears, and hugs as we share this journey through life.”
Leslie Morgan of Newington will serve as head of delegation.
The Special Olympics USA Games will bring together more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The event will also celebrate Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary this year.
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org