‘Magnificent 7’ Back From World Games

Congratulations to all seven athletes on earning a medal at the Special Olympics World Games, held March 14-25 in Abu Dhabi

Seven local Special Olympics athletes have proudly returned home from Abu Dhabi with an impressive amount of hardware to show off and even more memories to share.

Congratulations to all seven athletes on earning a medal at the Special Olympics World Games, held March 14-25 in Abu Dhabi.

Grace Anne Braxton (Fredericksburg) took home the silver medal at Yas Links Golf Club in Abu Dhabi. Over 4 days, Grace Anne shot an average of 88 with the help of her caddy and coach Kevin Smith.

"As a golf professional, I've played all over the world, caddied in PGA Tour events & been to many events for golf but this was the greatest two weeks of my career to date," Grace Anne’s coach, Kevin Smith said.

Karen Dickerson (Springfield) made Virginia proud, taking home a gold and two silver medals. Her gold came from an incredible performance in the half-marathon. Her time of 1:50:12 was the fastest time by any female competing.

Shortly following her medal run, Karen reflected; “My time was 1:50:12 which is slow but that’s fine. I’m just doing my best to represent the USA and doing it for a hard long run.”

Jennifer Mitchell (Alexandria) earned a gold medal in the 1500m Open Water Swimming competition. Jennifer was competing in her second World Games; she competed in Shanghai, China in 2007.

Joshua Norris (Blacksburg) took home two gold medals in Abu Dhabi. He secured his first gold in the 10,000m run and was a part of the 4x400m relay team from Special Olympics USA that earned gold.

Chris Raupp (Charlottesville) secured a gold medal in doubles. Chris and his partner, Chris Perreault of Special Olympics Northern California, narrowly defeated a pair from Special Olympics Netherlands to earn the top prize. At 49 years old, Chris was the oldest member of Team Virginia.

Joey Roney (Herndon) 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.

Victoria Martin (Woodbridge) took two silver medals in the 200m freestyle and the 100m individual medley. However, it was her blazing time of 01:35.99 in the 100m breaststroke that earned her gold.

As a whole, Special Olympics USA included 215 athletes, 65 coaches and approximately 34 delegation members who support team operations. Team members competed in 18 of the 24 sports offered: athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics – artistic, gymnastics – rhythmic, open water swimming, powerlifting, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, and volleyball.

Media interested in featuring our athletes or for photos of them competing should contact Holly Claytor at [email protected] or 804-726.3025.

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