Two Utah teams in Orlando for the Special Olympics

Jun 5, 2022, 10:16 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:29 pm
Utah Special Olympic Team. (Credit: Alex Cabrero)...
Utah Special Olympic Team. (Credit: Alex Cabrero)
(Credit: Alex Cabrero)

ORLANDO, Fla. — They’ve been waiting a long time for this, and when that moment finally came for these Utah athletes, it was all smiles.

Just like the Olympics, the National Special Olympics USA Games is held every four years. This time it’s in Orlando, Florida.

Utah has always had individual athletes competing, but for the first time in a long time, we have teams competing this year as well.

But in order to get here, it took a lot of hard work and had to be done back home in Utah.

Wasatch High School Unified Basketball. (Alex Cabrero/KSL TV)

Wasatch High School’s Unified basketball team has been practicing for months after finding out last September that they would represent Utah in the National Games.

“I thought we’d be playing for the school,” said Noah Wright of Wasatch High School Unified Basketball. “I was a little nervous, but now that I know we are playing for the state? That’s the really nervous part.”

Even still, Noah Wright and his teammates couldn’t wait to go.

Knowing many people are cheering them on back home, well, the scoreboard doesn’t really matter.

“As long as I’m with my team, yeah,” Wright said.

That’s the same way Utah’s other team competing in these Games feels.

Tooele High School Unified Soccer (Alex Cabrero/KSL TV)

The soccer players for Tooele High School’s Unified team say all these practices have brought them even closer.

“We get along really well,” said Hanna Bowen with Tooele High School Unified Soccer.

“Yeah, like we’ve been doing things at each other’s houses every weekend hanging out. it’s so much fun,” said Kami Dahl, also with Tooele High School Unified Soccer

And that’s the word, fun. It’s what the Special Olympics is all about.

Sure, every athlete here would like to win Gold, but there are some things more important than winning.

“I think we’ve all become best friends here,” said Tooele High School Unified Soccer’s Sami Emett. “This is everyone’s happy place.”

The competition gets going tomorrow morning in Orlando as about 38 athletes represent Utah in the Olympics.

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Two Utah teams in Orlando for the Special Olympics