Dinniman presents flag to Special Olympics athletes

Senator Dinniman meets with athletes and officials from the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania outside his West Chester District Office. Dinniman presented the team with a Pennsylvania State Flag that they will carry with them at the 2018 SO USA Games Opening Ceremonies on July 1 in Seattle.
Pictured (from left to right): SOPA Athlete Celine Heffron-Pero (Soccer), SOPA Team PA Tennis Coach Sally Kinsey, SO PA Athlete Lisa Robinson (Soccer), Team PA Head of Delegation and SOPA Senior Competition Director Gina Reid, SOPA Athlete Patrick O’Connor (Bowling), Senator Dinniman, and ; Chester County Local Program Manager Angie Robinson.

State Senator Andrew Dinniman of the 19th District recently presented Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) athletes, representing Team PA during the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington from July 1st-6th, with the Pennsylvania state flag.  The flag will proudly be carried by members of Team PA during Opening Ceremonies for the USA Games on July 1st.

The flag presentation took place at Dinniman’s District Office in West Chester, PA on Thursday, June 7th.  Those in attendance included: Team PA Head of Delegation and SOPA Senior Competition Director Gina Reid; Chester County Local Program Manager Angie Robinson; Team PA Tennis Coach Sally Kinsey; and Team PA athletes Celine Heffron-Pero (Soccer), Lisa Robinson (Soccer), and Patrick O’Connor (Bowling).

“The Special Olympics of Pennsylvania began right here in West Chester in 1970 at West Chester University. And so that legacy of inclusion in athletic competition continues today, nearly 50 years later,” Dinniman said. “It’s my honor and privilege to meet with our athletes and coaches and present them with a flag as they represent Pennsylvania in the USA Games. I hope it proves to be their lucky charm for bringing home the gold in Seattle.”

The USA Games showcase the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities and the impact of Special Olympics through world-class competition, inspirational experiences, and modeling inclusion for all. More than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 state Programs and the District of Columbia, along with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. All sporting events are free and open to the public.

The Opening Ceremony, to be held at the University of Washington Husky Stadium in Seattle on July 1st, will kick off six extraordinary days of competition and spectators will witness ceremonial traditions such as the Parade of Athletes, during which the PA flag will be displayed, and the lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope. Actor-singer Taye Diggs will serve as emcee with musical performances by multi-GRAMMY nominated singer, songwriter and producer Charlie Puth, world renowned DJ and producer Marshmello, singer-songwriter Allen Stone, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Ann Wilson of Heart, Seattle hip hop crew Massive Monkees and more. A 2,018-member choir, one of the largest vocal ensembles in Washington State history, will also serve as a living backdrop to the show.

A total of 50 athletes and 16 coaches, staff and unified partners make up Team PA. SOPA athletes competed in a series of state, local and sectional competitions in order to be eligible to compete at the national level.  Prior to heading to the Games, a sendoff and celebratory breakfast will be held for Team PA on Saturday, June 30th from 8:30am -10am at Xfinity Live in Philadelphia. Wawa employees will be onsite to cheer the athletes on and help to lead the athletes to their buses; and, the Philadelphia Police Department will provide a highway escort to the airport.


For a complete list of PA USA Games athletes and to learn more about Team PA visit http://specialolympicspa.org/sports-competitions/competitions/usa-games.

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