Special Olympics USA Games
Florida Teams Sweep the Field

Competition continued on Wednesday and Thursday at the Special Olympics USA Games as all 14 of the sports being showcased in the Games were in full swing and over 15,000 fans were gathered in venues across the Puget Sound region to cheer on the athletes.

The Stand Up Paddleboard team dominated the medal stand as awards were presented on Tuesday evening in Seattle. Consisting of Jennifer Averette (Monroe County), Daniel Fundora (Miami-Dade County), Vivy Pantoja, (Collier County), Lane “Hutch” Weeks (Walton County) and Curtis Fisher (Volusia County), each team member medaled in their respective event. Fundora and Fisher received gold while Averette, Pantoja, and Weeks received bronze.

The team joined athletes from Washington (five), South Carolina (five), Texas (four), Alabama (four) and Arkansas (two) on Monday and Tuesday. Races ranged from 800 to 3,500 yards in distance, with four levels of competition, and was the debut for Stand Up Paddleboard in the National games.
Team Florida's gymnastics team will be bringing home at least 12 medals from the USA Games in Seattle, with the Uneven Bars competition to wrap up today.

Megan Fernandez received the gold medal in Vaulting and bronze in the All-Around competition and Balance Beam.

Krysta Perez received the bronze in Vaulting, gold in the All-Around and silver in the Balance Beam.

Juliana Quintero received the gold in Balance Beam and All-Around, and silver in Vaulting.

Sabrina Meador received the bronze in Balance Beam, Vaulting, and All-Around competition.
For a schedule of athletic events please click here: Full Schedule. For results categorized by athletic competition please click here: Results.

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Youth Leadership Experience
Unified partner, Hannah Harrison, and Special Olympics Florida athlete, Marina Shaker, continued their Youth Leadership Experience at the USA Games by shadowing a professional in a field they were interested in, basketball. They took part in the opportunity to shadow coach Mike Cohen, an interscholastic head basketball coach from Hamilton county, to learn more about the sport of basketball, which they play Unified at Spruce Creek High School.

Hannah and Marina were able to ask Coach Cohen important questions about the importance of leadership in coaching as well as advice to be successful as a coach.

"The very best coaches get their athletes to believe in themselves - good coaches inspire their players to do more than they think they can."
‘He’s the champion of the family’ – tennis player Santiago Castro has Florida smiling
In Santiago “Santi” Castro’s week at the 2018 USA Games, he’s not only had his fellow teammates and coaches to cheer him on as he represents Team Florida in tennis. He has also had a contingent of fans sporting “Team Santiago” T-shirts, waving red and blue pompoms, and shouting words of encouragement to him in both English and Spanish.

Continue to Tune in this Week
ESPN's Kevin Neghandi will host a nightly 2018 Special Olympics USA Games program to bring viewers stories, competition showcase, interviews and more from July 2-6 at 6 p.m. ET (July 4 at 5 p.m. ET) on ESPN2. ESPN's coverage of the USA Games will also include LIVE daily streaming of the swimming competition on ESPN3, extensive news, video and information on ESPN.com and the ESPN App, as well as Vignette Series across ESPN platforms

The Games will also be covered by SportsCenter throughout the week, with daily segments in the SportsCenter AM and 6pm editions focused on the stories, developments and activities from Seattle.

Support Team Florida
There's still time to support Team Florida as they compete in the Special Olympics USA Games this week. Every day our athletes shatter stereotypes and exceed their personal bests on the playing field and in life. It is because of fans like you, whose contributions to the Special Olympics movement through volunteering, advocacy or financial support make these daily wins possible. Please consider making a donation today and help these athletes on their road to success.
Special Olympics Florida
USA Games
1915 Don Wickham Drive
Clermont, FL 34711
Special Olympics Florida | 352-243-9536 | www.specialolympicsflorida.org