Hinesburg athlete qualifies for 2015 World Games

July-5-F-Emily-Barboza-C-copyA year from now, 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 countries will parade into Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015. This ceremony will kick-off a nine-day celebration of courage, determination, and joy, as well as the largest sports and humanitarian event in 2015 and the largest event in Los Angeles since the ’84 Olympics.
Special Olympics Vermont selected three athletes to compete, including Emily Barboza of Hinesburg, in the 2015 World Games July 25-Aug. 2 in Los Angeles, Calif. The other two Vermont athletes are Hunter Hall of White River Junction and Johnny Moretti of Fairfax.
Much like the Olympics Games, the Special Olympics World Games take place every other year, alternating between winter and summer events. “It’s an incredible honor to qualify and be selected for a World Games event,” says Lisa DeNatale, President and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont. “Traveling and competing on the world stage celebrates our athletes’ abilities, and broadens their belief in what they are capable of.”
The event also involves 3,000 volunteer coaches, 30,000 event volunteers, and an estimated 500,000 spectators. Vermont athletes were selected to be members of Team USA based on a variety of factors: available quota designated by Special Olympics Inc., performance in a 2013 or 2014 qualifying competition, commitment to training and preparation, their ability to travel to training camp and the Games, and recommendations from coaches and parents.
Barboza, 16, is a student at the Belcate School and will compete at the World Games in individual bowling. She has been involved with Special Olympics through school and the Chittenden program since 2008 and also competes in basketball and athletics (track and field events).
The 2015 World Games promise to be a spectacular event, bringing together inspiring athletes, youth leaders of the Special Olympics movement, political leaders, and celebrities to honor the mission of the organization and promote a vision of a more unified and inclusive world. President Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, have signed on as Honorary Chairs of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.
To learn more about Special Olympics Vermont visit www.SpecialOlympicsVermont.org.