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It might just be Monday to you but to more than 300 Special Olympics athletes, today was the first full day of Special Olympics Team USA training camp!

Yesterday more than 400 Special Olympics athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers converged on San Diego, California for this special event and this morning they took to training as a team for the first time.

This week these Special Olympics’ athletes and their coaches will work together as they prepare to head to Athens, Greece in just under 100 days for Special Olympics World Summer Games ATHENS 2011.  Today is the very first time that all of these people united as one.  Teams arrived from various states, from different flights, and by the end of today’s practice they are starting to become one big family.

Special Olympics Team USA cheers "U-S-A! U-S-A!" to keynote speaker and Olympic legend Rafer Johnson (courtesy: Nancy Brown)

To kickoff camp last night legendary Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson spoke to the team.  He acknowledged how hard everyone had worked to accomplish getting where they are today.  While he talked about his involvement with Special Olympics since back in its early days, working alongside Special Olympics late founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he also brought the team to the present day.He brought up ‘March Madness’ and the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. He referenced the major upsets that happened over the weekend and how some of those who are still alive in the tournament weren’t even expected to make the tournament in the first place.  He said it just goes to show that you need to work to be the best you can be and it will pay off!

Rafer Johson speaking to Special Olympics Team USA (courtesy: Nancy Brown)

Special Olympics Team USA has come together, is excited and ready to get to work.  Bright and early this morning all of the various sports teams headed off to their venues to meet with their coaches and start training.

I was able to spend time meeting athletes and coaches from athletics, soccer, basketball and more today as they began their training for Greece.  Stay tuned for more on that later, with plenty of photos and stories to come!
Special Olympics' Team USA athletes competing in athletics begin their training at San Diego State University today (courtesy: Nancy Brown)

To keep up on everything happening at camp and to see some great photos over the coming days, be sure to visit Special Olympics Team USA Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/SOTeamUSA

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