Team North carolina - 2018 usa games July 1, 2018

Team NC athletes, coaches and Unified partners received star treatment on Saturday, June 30 as they began their journey to the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games!

The day began with a sendoff celebration at Team Penske’s facility in Mooresville. Energy and excitement were high throughout the entire program which featured speakers, sponsor recognition and a few surprises!

Some of North Carolina’s biggest names, including Governor Roy Cooper, Roy Williams of UNC Men’s Basketball, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke Men’s Basketball and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, wished Team NC good luck through a video message.

“I loved seeing the Carolina Hurricanes, Jordan Staal is my favorite,” shared Bryan Henry, Team NC swimming.

“My favorite was definitely seeing Charlotte Flair – I watch wrestling all the time with my brother and she’s awesome!” said Marquise Ledbetter, Team NC basketball.

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Each member of Team NC was also thrilled to receive their personalized trading cards, donated by Henry Wurst Printing, and immediately began sharing them with teammates and friends.

The next leg of the journey was equally exciting thanks to some new friends. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Mooresville Police Department provided the team with a police escort to the airport, which made the day of everyone aboard the buses.

When the team arrived at Charlotte Douglas Airport, the star treatment continued as American Air employees made the entire check-in and security process easy for the group. Before long, it was time to board the plane!

Many members of Team NC experienced their first plane ride and it was an experience they won’t forget.

“I think it’s so much fun! I really liked looking out the window,” said James Meehling of Team NC Unified flag football.

But the view on the ground was so much better for Team NC because it meant they are one step closer to the once-in-a-lifetime experience of competing at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

Everyone is so excited for everything the week has in store, including Opening Ceremony on Sunday, July 1!

In my own words

Hear what Seattle is like directly from Team NC!

“My favorite part so far was the bus and plane rides! It means I’m closer to Seattle!” -Amy Bennett, Team NC tennis

“I really loved getting my trading cards! I feel like a superstar!” -Jureal Hoyle, Team NC volleyball

“I’d never been on a plane before so that was my favorite part!” -James Meehling, Team NC flag football

Stay up to date with the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games by tuning into ESPN!

Cheer on Team NC by donating online today here!

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