Birmingham-based volleyball team wins GOLD at 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

FullSizeRender preview Birmingham-based volleyball team wins GOLD at 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
Making Alabama proud! (Ginny Bastar)

Congratulations are in order—Birmingham’s Exceptional Foundation volleyball team is bringing home a gold medal after representing Alabama at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida! Read on for more details.

They are the champions đŸ„‡

IMG 7960 Birmingham-based volleyball team wins GOLD at 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
The champions themselves. (Ginny Bastar)

On Saturday, June 4, Birmingham’s Exceptional Foundation volleyball team made the journey to Orlando, Florida to compete in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. The competition, which boasts over 5,500 athletes and coaches and 125,000 spectators, brings together teams from all 50 states.

The Exceptional Foundation’s team, led by head coach Jon Perez and assistant coaches Brandi Murphy and Ginny Bastar, played a total of six games throughout the week, eventually scoring gold. The final score was 25-17—go team!

“We are so proud of our team! They played their hearts out this week and won their final match yesterday against a very tough Texas team. All of their hard work and dedication has paid off and now they are ready to celebrate!”

Ginny Baster, Vice President of Operations, Exceptional Foundation

Let’s recognize the 10 team players that brought Alabama to victory:

  • Seth Bokatzian 
  • Leland Farrington 
  • Josh Garner 
  • Andy Jordan
  • Ethan Keller
  • Nicole Mack
  • Tim Rothe 
  • Christopher Smiley
  • Dawson Taylor 
  • Merrill Ward

A magical celebration

IMG 8563 Birmingham-based volleyball team wins GOLD at 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
Celebrating at Animal Kingdom. (Ginny Bastar)

After countless hours of practice and well-deserved wins, this team deserved to celebrate. What better way to party in Orlando than at Walt Disney World?

On Thursday, June 9, Disney shut down Animal Kingdom just for the Special Olympics USA athletes and their families. Today, they get to party it up at Magic Kingdom. I hope they got some high-fives from Mickey Mouse!

The Closing Ceremonies will take place tomorrow night at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports before the champions make their way back to The Magic City (gold medals in tow).

Learn more

Birmingham’s Exceptional Foundation serves people with special needs in the Birmingham area by fostering social and recreational skills for their members through youth and adult programs.

Visit their website to learn more about their work and how you can get involved.

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Gabby Gervais
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