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Special Olympics Athletes, Unified Partner, Return from 2022 USA Games

Upon their return home from the 2022 USA Special Olympics Summer Games, Lycoming County Special Olympics athletes Jacob Carey, Johanna Schoeneck, Byron Keith Diemer and Unified Partner, Sean Loner, all expressed their gratitude to those that made everything possible and that it was an honor and privilege to have been given the opportunity to attend

Upon their return home from the 2022 USA Special Olympics Summer Games, Lycoming County Special Olympics athletes Jacob Carey, Johanna Schoeneck, Byron Keith Diemer and Unified Partner, Sean Loner, all expressed their gratitude to those that made everything possible and that it was an honor and privilege to have been given the opportunity to attend the games and represent Lycoming County and Special Olympics Pennsylvania.

Lycoming County Special Olympics athletes Jacob Carey, Johanna Schoeneck, Byron Keith and his Unified Partner, Sean Loner were part of Team Pennsylvania who competed at the 2022 USA Special Olympics Summer Games held in Orlando Florida. With over 5,500 athletes and Unified Partners and 1,500 coaches in attendance from across the United States and the Caribbean, they were treated to eight days of continuous activities. While Special Olympics is a sports training and competition organization, the major focus was placed on competition however they also enjoyed other activities such as opening and closing ceremonies, entertainment at Disney and Animal Kingdom, watched a performance by the Harlem Globe Trotters, as well as attended a family picnic and had an all-around great time.

Team Pennsylvania consisted of 122 athletes, 33 coaches and 10 staff members. With 19 different individual and team sports being offered at the 2022 USA Games, Team Pennsylvania participated in 14 sports. The Special Olympics athletes from Pennsylvania competed in Aquatics, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Flag Football, Gymnastics, Golf, Powerlifting, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field and Volleyball.

Lycoming County Special Olympics athletes competed in Bocce and Bowling. Jacob Carey and Johanna Schoeneck participated in Bocce and returned home with six medals. Jacob Carey took a gold in his individual event while Johanna brought home a Silver with her second-place finish. In the doubles competition they were awarded a silver medal while in the four-person team event they took first place and received a Gold medal for their efforts.

When questioned about their experiences and what they liked most about attending the USA games, Jacob Carey stated that, “liked meeting new athletes, coaches and volunteers from all around the USA and the friendships that he made.” Johanna Schoeneck was excited about competing and the reality of being selected to represent Pennsylvania set in when she arrived in Florida.

Byron Keith Diemer, Special Olympic athlete, and Sean Loner, Unified partner, competed in Unified Bowling and returned home with two medals and three ribbons. Byron and Sean combined with another Unified Team and received the gold medal in the four-person team event for their first place finish. Byron also received a 7th place finish ribbon in his singles event and Byron and Sean took 5th place in Unified Doubles competition.

Responding to what they liked most about the USA Games, Byron Keith Diemer stated that it was the first time he was ever in an airplane and he enjoyed the flight. He also liked their trips to Animal Kingdom and Disney where he got to see animals and go on some rides. “I was also excited that my parents got to go on the trip and watch me compete.” Sean Loner stated that he really enjoyed bowling against athletes and Unified partners from the other states and how good they were. He wanted to thank Byron for being a great teammate and allowing him to be his partner.

Finally, to sum up the total experience that all four of them had in attending the 2022 USA Special Olympics Summer Games, Sean said, “we all have memories that will last us a lifetime and we will never forget.”

By Lester Loner
Training Coordinator/Coach, Lycoming County
570-433-1765 • lesloner3@gmail.com

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