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Team Kentucky returning from 2022 Special Olympics USA Games with 32 medals, including 15 golds

Team Kentucky will return home from the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando with 32 medals, including 15 golds.

Two of those golds belongs to Union’s Maddie Brinkman who earned gold in the 50-yeard backstroke with her personal best time, 47.400, 1.95 seconds ahead of Anna Reagle of Connecticut. Her other gold was in the 50-yard backstroke. She also won a bronze medal — in the 50-yard freestyle.

Maddie Brinkman

On the final day of the competition, the 4×100-meter relay team of Michaela Hickerson, Caitlin Roy, Kevin Rates and Trevor Yates blazed their way to a gold medal in their division. Team Kentucky used a scorching third leg from Rates to take command and cruised to the win in 1:03.570, .87 seconds ahead of Idaho.

The win also led to one of the great moments of the Games for Team Kentucky – a wild celebration on the medal stand at the awards later in the day.

The 4×100 win wouldn’t be the last medal of the day at the track for Team Kentucky. Hickerson ran a :39.163 in her division of the 200-meter run, holding off Sarah LaBreche of Rhode Island to hang onto the silver medal.

Almost immediately after he ran the anchor leg of the 4×100 relay, Trevor Yates was back on the track running the 3000 meters. Yates finished in 15:03.808, placing fifth.

Austin Stine – who won gold Friday in the 50-yard freestyle – completed his events Saturday with the 100-yard freestyle. Stine shaved six full seconds off his personal best, finishing in 2:04.56 to place fifth. Stine closed the Games with two gold medals and a fifth place finish.

Team Kentucky closed out their USA Games with a fourth-place finish.

They found themselves down early 18-0 to Pennsylvania. Kentucky stabilized behind a touchdown each from Jacob Dunn and Hunter Morrison, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit and fell 31-12.

Earlier in the games, Unified Basketball (which includes Northern Kentucky residents Michelle Goderwis and Olivia Whitehead)
 closed play with a 4th place finish.

There was a special moment for Team Kentucky away from the field. On Thursday, gymnast Aliya White ran into ESPN personality Daina Shilts, who rose to fame during the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Korea where she competed as a snowboarder. White is a big fan of Shilts and was very excited to see one of her idols. The two had such a great interaction that Shilts invited White to the ESPN suites at Wide World of Sports. White was treated to a surprise in both seeing Shilts again and Shilts giving White an autographed hat.

A lot of Team Kentucky used a day off to head to the Magic Kingdom, a perk provided to every athlete at the Games. Later in the evening, they returned to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports for the Closing Ceremonies.

Team Kentucky returns home on today. The team is scheduled to land at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Airport at 11:50 a.m.



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