This was the first year for competitive cheer competition at the usa games

Special Olympics Arizona is having a great time at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, and Day two was capped off in a big way, with the SOAZ Cheer Team taking home the gold medal in competitive cheer.  This was the first year that the USA Games has featured competitive cheer as an event, and the SOAZ cheer team now has the distinguished honor of being the first team to earn the Gold Medal.

“Congratulations to our Arizona Cheer Team, the athletes, the unified partners and the coaches,” said Jamie Heckerman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Arizona.  “This is a great honor, I know the entire state of Arizona is proud of all of the hard work they have put in to get here.  This is such an incredible moment.”

Members of the SOAZ cheer team include AnnMarie Demeter (Head Coach), Brittany Meola (Assistant Coach), Dionna White (Assistant Coach), Emilio Ramirez (Assistant Coach), Brianna Sanchez (Athlete), Eric Robinette (Athlete), Ethan Thorpe (Athlete), Mary Potocki (Athlete), Michele Martin (Athlete), Alana Arocho (Unified Partner), Amanda Hicks (Unified Partner), Danielle Pfeiffer (Unified Partner), Hailey Knight-Ayers (Unified Partner), Kari Biedenbender (Unified Partner).

Special Olympics Arizona is being represented by more than 115 athletes, partners and coaches at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, which is being held June 5-12 in Orlando, Fla.  This year the USA Games will showcase more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from throughout the country competing in front of more than 125,000 spectators and supporters at one of the country’s most cherished sporting events.

SOAZ is represented in 10 sports – Athletics, Basketball (Unified), Bocce, Cheer, Flag Football, Golf, Powerlifting, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Swimming and Volleyball.  For a complete list of all sports and athletes who will be competing in Orlando visit https://specialolympicsarizona.org/sports-competitions/usa-games/.

“We are so proud of all of our athletes, partners and coaches who will be representing the state of Arizona at the 2022 USA Games,” said Jamie Heckerman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Arizona.  “This is a great stage to not only showcase competition and athletics, but to celebrate all of the dedication and perseverance these athletes display in everyday life.  We wish them the best of luck and want them to know that everyone in Arizona is rooting for them.”

Hosted every four years, the USA Games showcase 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events during the week, including forums and VIP receptions.  For more information visit www.2022usagames.org.


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