The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games took place June 14-21 in Mercer County, New Jersey. A crowd of more than 70,000 spectators cheered on the nearly 3,500 athletes who traveled from around the country to take part in the games.
Team Indiana consisted of 85 individuals, including three local athletes from Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties, Becky Cashman, Christa Mullins and Jacob Eldridge, reported Greg Townsend, Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties delegation coordinator.
The three qualified for Team Indiana by first being nominated by Townsend and then by competing and winning a gold medal in their respective sport during the 2013 Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games in Terre Haute, with the final selection of the team made that summer.
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics has grown from a backyard event into a global movement comprised of year-round sports training and athletic competitions with the ultimate goal of building a more inclusive and accepting world. The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games epitomized the goals set forth by Shriver and was the largest, most dynamic and innovative national games to date.
Team Indiana, along with the other delegations from across the country, were introduced and celebrated by the 20,000 fans at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremony at the Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey. Among those fans were 17 local ones, including the parents of the three local athletes.
At the DeNunzio Pool at Princeton University, Mullins, 27, Dillsboro, and Cashman, 24, of Rising Sun, competed in the sport of aquatics. Both were part of Team Indiana’s 4-by-50-yard freestyle team, along with fellow Hoosiers Katie Williams and Victoria Roberts. The relay team captured the silver medal.
Individually, Mullins competed in the 50-yard breaststroke receiving the fifth-place ribbon. She also took home the bronze medal in the 100-yard freestyle and the silver medal for the 50-yard freestyle.