Revealing the Louisiana Champions in New Jersey

Opening Ceremonies stage ElaineThe 2014 Special Olympics USA Games are underway! It has been a remarkable 3 days and the best is yet to come! All together 108 athletes, coaches, unified partners, youth leaders and additional staff went to represent our great state. Here is a recap:

Saturday, 12 of our team members flew in style courtesy of the Citation Special Olympics Airlift, 1/2 our delegation made it to New Jersey with no problem and the other 1/2 spent a few extra hours in the New Orleans airport (which made for some interesting stories and photos.) All in all, our delegation arrived safely!
Sunday, several of our sports scoped out the venues and practiced. That night, they participated in the spectacular Opening Ceremonies where the cauldron was lit and the games officially declared open!
Monday, preliminary competitions began for Team Louisiana.
– Highlights include: Two bowlers, Joshua Racca and Donnie Guillory bowled turkeys, Gerren Brown even bowled 4 strikes in a row. Unified Flag Football won against Delaware 25-12. Aquatics did great in the 4×25 medley relay. Unified Basketball won against Maryland 33-24 and against Tennesse 34-17.

Stay up to date with Team Louisiana on our social media channels facebook, twitter and instagram. Check out the pictures here.

To support Team Louisiana while they are in New Jersey, you can donate here.

2014 Special Olympics USA Games App

Do you want to stay connected with the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games?  If so, head over to the USA Games website or go to the App Store or Google Play so you can download the official app today!  The app features event info, schedules, maps, social media links, and athlete profiles!  This is a great way to stay connected to USA Games from any location.USA Games App

When you download the app, be sure to search the athlete profiles for Team Louisiana!

2014 Special Olympics USA Games

2014 SO National GAmes logoSpecial Olympics International recently sat down for a little Q&A with Lillian Narvaez, COO of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, hosted by New Jersey. Special Olympics Louisiana is sending 56 athletes to these games!

SONA: What’s your Special Olympics Story?
LN: “I graduated from college in 1985 and began working at the Mercer County Arc (NJ), and coached Special Olympics. In 1987 was chosen to coach the women’s basketball team that went to the World Summer Games in Indiana, and soon thereafter joined the Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) staff as a Program Representative, working with the local programs.

In 1989 I became the Training Director and 1995 became VP of Sports. I took the position of COO of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in 2011.”

SONA: As the USA Games COO, what are you finding different about this role compared to your previous Special Olympics experience?
LN: “Putting together an organization is unique – this job is like starting a new business. From hiring and recruiting high caliber people, building operational plans, there are so many intricacies unique to a National Games.”

SONA: What can people look forward to in 2014?
LN: “Some of the innovative things we’re doing for the Games is the emphasis on special events for the athletes…I don’t want to give anything away, but we think they’ll have an unprecedented experience. We’re also providing a unique opportunity for students to be engaged with the Games, as school will still be in session. From a sports perspective, we really want to bring a “wow’ factor to the competition and venues. We also want to make these truly national games via media coverage and awareness so that at the end, people don’t think “those were great New Jersey Games,” we want them to say they were great national games. Lastly, we want these to be the Games of welcome and acceptance, from the minute they get to the airport and throughout everyone’s whole stay. Jersey gets a bad rap sometimes, but there are so many people and communities that already embrace Special Olympics New Jersey and we can’t wait for people to see that that will extend to all of the athletes, families and fans that come to the Games.”

SONA: What are you, personally, most looking forward to in 2014?
LN: “I’m personally looking forward to seeing the first Cessna Citation land. And my dream is to see our athletes perform at their best at standing room only venues.”

SONA: What are some facts about you that people may not know?
LN: “I’m a huge NY Giants fan, I enjoy cooking, and I love to play golf.” Additional fun fact: she would rather anyone else be interviewed besides her. Thanks for being a good sport, Lillian!