The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games were held June 5-12 in Orlando, Florida. The Games are hosted once every four years and showcase 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports. This year, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean gathered to unite in one of the country’s most cherished sporting events.
The fifteen-member delegation, including six athletes, three coaches, a Unified Youth Leadership team, a Head of Delegation and Special Olympics Vermont leadership arrived in Orlando on Saturday, June 4th. The Games kicked off on Sunday with an exciting Opening Ceremony at Exploria Stadium. Athletes began competition on Monday, June 6th, and despite being one of the smallest delegations, Team Vermont made their presence known in Florida.
Pascal Deppisch, from Danville, fresh off finishing 5th in the D4 Vermont State Track and Field Championships, won gold in his first event of the week, the 1500m race, with a blazing time of 4:33.94. He followed up his gold medal with two bronze medals, one in the 3000m race and another in the 5000m race.
Julia Bruner, a swimmer from Hyde Park, added to Vermont’s medal count by winning silver in the 25yd freestyle swim. At the end of the week, Mathew Benn, a golfer from BeeBe Plain, took home silver in the Level 4 - 9-hole individual golf competition.
Marcus DeSmit, from Vergennes, had to wait a few days to get into the pool, and then managed to win both of his preliminary races. Chelsea Waldner, from St. Johnsbury entered the Games with a goal of having fun and left with a personal best time in each of her running events. Jenny Mayfield, from Hartland, suffered an ankle injury on the second day of the golf competition but that didn’t stop her from playing the rest of the week, and making the most of her time in Orlando.
“We are extremely proud of our small but mighty delegation,” said Special Olympics Vermont President and CEO, Missy Siner Shea. “They trained hard and performed extremely well in an unfamiliar and highly competitive environment. In addition to competing, they met new friends from across the country, and enjoyed some well-earned fun at Disney World. This week was a poignant reminder that Special Olympics athletes are capable of great achievement when presented with opportunity.”
Full results from Team Vermont are listed below.
Athletics (Track & Field) Results
- Pascal Deppisch, 18, from Danville, won a gold medal in the 1500m race with a time of 4:33.94; a bronze medal in the 5000m race with a time of 16:57.80; and a bronze medal in the 3000m race with a time of 10:10.42
- Chelsea Waldner, 24, from St. Johnsbury won fourth place in the 100m race, with a time of 00:21.34; fifth place in the 200m race, with a time of 00:47.78; and sixth place in the 400m race with a time of 01:50.50.
-Mathew Benn, 28, from BeBee Plain, won a silver medal in the Level 4 - 9-hole individual competition, with scores of 65-73-76-59.
- Jennifer Mayfield, 29, from Harland, won a participation ribbon in the Level 4 - 9-hole individual competition, with scores of 75-69-69-75.
- Julia Bruner, 26, from Hyde Park, won a silver medal in the 25yd freestyle swim, with a time of 00:38.14; and eighth place in the 25yd backstroke swim with a time of 00:43.93.
- Marcus DeSmit, 19, from Vergennes, won sixth place in the 50yd freestyle swim, with a time of 00:33.23; and sixth place in the 100yd freestyle, with a time of 01:14.59.
About Special Olympics Vermont
Special Olympics Vermont is part of a global movement that works year-round to foster the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities by using the power of sport to showcase their gifts and abilities. For more information, visit www.specialolympicsvermont.org.