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Thank You - A Letter from a World Champion

Joey Roney arrived back to Virginia wearing a silver medal proudly from his performance in the 100m freestyle. In his first ever World Games, Joey had a great time learning about people from different countries. Feeling grateful for his experience, Joey penned a letter to Special Olympics Virginia President Rick Jeffrey.

Dear Mr. Jeffrey:

Thank you for all that you do for me and the Virginia athletes. Going to the World Games in Dubai was an awesome experience that would never have happened without all of you working hard for us. I really appreciate all that you do.

Dubai was awesome! Our hotel the Grand Hyatt was amazing. My mom and dad said that it was the nicest hotel they had ever seen. The people at the hotel treated us like royalty.

My parents signed me out several days and we went to see lots of interesting things. Oh man, you wouldn’t believe the shopping centers in Dubai! They have aquariums, ice skating rinks, and lots of other amazing things. I didn’t get to go to the shopping center with the ski slope, but my parents told me it was really awesome. Dubai is like Disneyland, only bigger.

We saw the world’s tallest building. We didn’t have time to go up to the top. I don’t think I would have liked that. It’s too tall.

Most of all, I liked meeting and competing against the best athletes in the world. I didn’t recognize many of the countries, I had to ask where they were. I exchanged pins with athletes from all over, and I exchanged shirts with an athlete from Denmark. That’s in Europe. Tell Mr. Pawlowski thanks for the extra Virginia pins to trade.

I won a Silver medal in 100 Free, I swam way faster than at the USA games. We came in 4th in the 4x100 Free relay. We swam fast, but the others were even faster. The Australians were really fast, they beat both USA teams.

I DQ’d in the 200 Free. When I dove in my goggles came loose and water leaked in. I tried to adjust them but it didn’t work. I kept swimming even though I couldn’t really see with all the water in my goggles, I had to keep shutting my eyes. On one of my flip turns, I didn’t touch the wall and was disqualified. When I told my dad what happened, he said, “Talk about being brave in the attempt!” He told me he was proud of me and that I did great.

Thanks to everyone at Special Olympics Virginia and to everyone at Area 26 for this wonderful opportunity to go to the World Games. It would never have happened without all of your hard work.

Your friend,

Joey Roney - A proud member of the Virginia Magnificent Seven