The six athletes from Team Nevada are back home after a successful showing at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, including winning two gold medals and a bronze medal. Held in Orlando over the past week, Team Nevada athletes competed in swimming, track & field and bowling.
Team Nevada results below:
Jordan Lechtenberger, Las Vegas: Swimming – Gold medal, 200yd freestyle; 7th place, 100 yd freestyle,
Lakisha Taylor, Carson City: Track and Field – Gold medal, 100m run; 5th place shot put
Jacqueline Gilpin, South Lake Tahoe: Bowling – Bronze medal, bowling singles; 7th place bowling doubles
Devin Gaffney, Las Vegas: Swimming – 4th place, 50yd freestyle; 4th place 25yd backstroke
Eric Barber, Winnemucca: Track and Field – 5th place, long jump; 7th place, shot put; 7th place 100m run
Samantha Aslin, Mesquite: Bowling – 5th place, bowling singles; 7th place bowling doubles
“Our Team Nevada athletes showed determination, discipline, grace, and the spirit of friendly competition in each of their events,” said Terrence Thornton, executive director of Special Olympics Nevada. “I am so proud of how our athletes represented Nevada to the world and this unforgettable experience will stay with them and the SONV team for a lifetime.”
Before jetting off to Orlando for the competition, Caesar Entertainment treated Team Nevada to a gold-star send-off event. After an overnight at Caesars Palace, the group enjoyed breakfast at the world-famous Bacchanal Buffet, lunch at Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar, a ride on the High Roller Wheel and zip lining at FlyLINQ at the LINQ Hotel & Experience. The day wrapped up with a special dinner and presentation at HELL’S KITCHEN at Caesars Palace where Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay surprised the athletes with a video congratulating them and wishing them luck at this year’s Games. Following dinner, the athletes were cheered on during a “walk of honor” by Caesars Entertainment Leadership and Team Members, Las Vegas Raiders punter, AJ Cole and Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver, Mack Hollins, Caesar and Cleopatra, Las Vegas Aces mascot, Buckets, Henderson Silver Knights mascot, Lucky and members of southern Nevada’s law enforcement agencies as they got into their limos for a police-escorted ride to Harry Reid International Airport.
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, featured 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to Florida for one of the country’s most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and, for the first time in its history, will have 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout the event. These USA Games also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Florida.
About Special Olympics Nevada
SONV is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through sports, education, leadership, and athlete health. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization offers free year-round training and competition programs for 2,694 athletes who compete in more than 14 competitions in 7 sports annually. Within the Community Sports Program and the Schools Partnership Program, SONV is encouraging the growth of Unified Sports®, bringing together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play as teammates. In a typical year, SONV impacts more than 21,283 students by promoting inclusion on school campuses. SONV is also committed to improving the overall health and well-being of individuals with intellectual disabilities through Healthy Athletes events, offering screenings and services free of charge. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the organization was able to convert its programing to virtual platforms to keep people with intellectual disabilities healthy and safe. SONV relies on the support of 1,670 volunteers and funding from individuals, organizations, corporations, and foundations. More information may be found by visiting www.sonv.org and following on Facebook, Twitter (@SONevada), and Instagram (@specialolympicsnv).