Special Olympics marks “one year out” from start of 2022 USA Games to be held in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — The countdown is on for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games taking place in Orlando.

To generate excitement ahead of the major sporting event, members with the Special Olympics and community leaders held a “One-Year-Out” celebration Tuesday.

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More than 5,000 of the most inspiring athletes from across the country will compete on the biggest stage.

During Tuesday’s event, OCA’s Special Olympics Soccer Team was surprised with the news they will play in the Games next summer.

Athlete Sebastien Atis said he was speechless.

“Very excited,” Atis said. “It’s a dream come true.”

A confident Atis said the team is going for gold.

“We will be bringing home the trophy,” Atis said.

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The Opening Ceremony will be held at Exploria Stadium. The games will run from June 5-12.

Jason Siegel, the president and CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, said this event is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to Orlando and have a huge economic impact.

“We expect that somewhere north of $60 to $65 million worth of impact to our community alone,” Siegel said.

He said the impact goes beyond the money.

“At the heart of it all is this wonderfully huge humanitarian effort that’s going to take place here to shine a spotlight of course on special Olympians,” Siegel said.

Joe Dzaluk, President & CEO of Special Olympics USA Games, said the community can help by cheering on the athletes from the stands or volunteering.

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“We need roughly 8000 volunteers doing 21,000 volunteer shifts,” Dzaluk said.

If you would like to volunteer, click here.