Swimmers Erin Stalf and Shiv Patel, plus runner Alex Correa, have been training since last November in anticipation of the big event
Three longtime Rio Rancho Rockets, members of the city’s Special Olympics team, are looking forward to a trip to Florida in early June to compete as part of Team New Mexico at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, hosted by Disney World.
Every four years, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states unite to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games — one of the most beloved and inspiring sporting events in the country — part of a global movement using sports to end discrimination and empower people with intellectual disabilities.
Athletes will compete June 5-12 in 19 sports, among them gymnastics, swimming, bocce, tennis, basketball and flag football. The main venue is ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex.
Locally, swimmers Erin Stalf and Shiv Patel, plus runner Alex Correa, have been training since last November in anticipation of the big event. Carla Stalf has been training the pair of swimmers; Nutan Patel has been working with Alex.
Patel said New Mexico was the only state that didn’t send a team to the 2018 Summer Games, recalling that the budget had been slashed.
Special Olympics New Mexico is sending 20 athletes and unified partners to Orlando. To help defray costs for the trip, one of the supporters of Team USA, Jersey Mike’s Subs, is raising money for these athletes: On Wednesday, they will give 100 percent of that day’s sales to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.
In the City of Vision, you’ll find Jersey Mike’s at 1121 Unser Blvd. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 505-892-7776.
“Jersey Mike’s is the presenting sponsor of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, and it hopes to raise even more for the non-profit organization than last year’s record-breaking $15 million fundraising campaign,” said Peter Cancro, Jersey Mike’s founder and CEO.
Jersey Mike’s Month of Giving has raised more than $47 million for local charities since it began in 2011.