ORLANDO, Fla. (June 27, 2019) – The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games announced today its Board of Directors who will play a pivotal role in planning, guiding and executing strategic direction for the 2022 USA Games being hosted in Orlando, Florida. The board will ensure athletes, volunteers, coaches and the public have a world-class experience at the Games while expanding the resources and reach of Special Olympics in Florida and the U.S.
“The Florida community has made a bold statement by embracing the Special Olympics USA Games, which is coming to the Orlando area in June of 2022,” said Joe Dzaluk, President & CEO of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. “We have assembled an incredible group of community officials, talented business leaders and sports industry professionals to ensure the Games are a once-in-a-lifetime event for everyone.”
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is honored and proud to share the exceptional and inclusive group who will be leading the Games in Orlando. The board includes:
Jerry L. Demings – Mayor, Orange County, Florida
Mayor Jerry L. Demings is the 5th elected Mayor of Orange County and is the first African-American to serve in the role. He oversees more than 8,000 Orange County employees and a $4.4 billion budget as the county’s chief executive officer. Mayor Demings has a passion for working with organizations that support children and volunteers with several non-profit agencies.
Buddy Dyer – Mayor, City of Orlando
As Orlando’s longest-serving mayor, Buddy Dyer has worked tirelessly to advance the community’s shared vision for inclusiveness, innovation, transportation, opportunity and quality of life. Since his first day in office, Mayor Dyer has strived to increase cooperation and partnership between Central Florida’s many governments, businesses, civic communities and residents creating Orlando into a desirable place to live, work, learn and play.
Robin Eletto – Chief People Officer, Fanatics
Robin Eletto oversees Fanatics’ global human resources operations with a focus on talent engagement, recruiting, rewards and career development among many other HR programs and initiatives. Before joining Fanatics, Eletto was Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Millennial Media, a leading public mobile ad tech company.
Brian Ford – Chief Operating Officer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brian A. Ford, Jr. joined the Buccaneers in 2006 and in his role oversees all aspects of the organization’s day-to-day business operations and community involvement. Under Ford’s leadership, the Buccaneers have consistently earned top marks among NFL teams for customer service experience, ranking No. 1 in the league’s annual ‘Voice of the Fan’ report five of the past seven seasons.
Ron Fulop – Johnson & Johnson (Retired)
A former Vice President at Johnson & Johnson, Ron Fulop has been involved with Special Olympics since 1992 and served on the board of Special Olympics Florida for more than ten years, including a tenure as chairman of the board. Fulop’s daughter Lindsay is an accomplished Special Olympics athlete who has excelled on the golf course and continues to serve as an Athlete Leader for Special Olympics Florida events.
Rowdy Gaines – U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist
Rowdy Gaines is an American former competitive swimmer, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is the chief fundraiser for USA Swimming as well as a renowned swimming analyst for television networks ESPN and NBC. He has covered swimming at every Olympic Games since 1996. Additionally, Gaines was part of the ESPN broadcast team for 2018 Special Olympics USA Games swimming coverage.
Russell Gibson – Sheriff, Osceola County
Sheriff Russ Gibson began his law enforcement career in 1985 at the Brookfield Township Police Department in Ohio. There, he worked for two years as a Reserve Deputy before moving to Osceola County, predominating his 28 years of public service. Before retiring to seek the Office of Sheriff, Sheriff Gibson served in several divisions of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Dawn Giebler-Millner – Board Chair, Special Olympics Florida
Dawn Giebler-Millner is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig and former chair of the Litigation Department. She focuses her general litigation practice in the areas of product liability, employment, consumer, commercial and complex civil litigation. She has served as trial counsel in numerous cases involving claims of product liability, breach of contract, fraud, breach of various state and federal consumer statutes, employment discrimination and land contamination.
Maryann Gonzalez – Special Olympics Athlete
Maryann Gonzalez has been a Special Olympics athlete for more than 45 years. She has played 10 sports and officiated softball and volleyball in five Special Olympics World Games and four Special Olympics USA Games. Gonzalez was part of the first group of athletes to serve on the U.S. Leadership Council and first to sit on the North American Leader Council. She was inducted into Special Olympics Florida’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Teresa Jacobs – Board Chair, Orange County Schools
Teresa Jacobs became Chair of the Orange County School Board in November 2018. She previously served two terms as Orange County Mayor (2010-2018) and two terms as an Orange County Commissioner (2000-2008). Jacobs is a long-time community volunteer actively involved with multiple local organizations.
Dr. Richard Lapchick – Founder and Director, The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sport
Richard Lapchick, Ph.D. is an author, human rights activist, pioneer for racial equality and known internationally as a recognized expert on sports issues. Dr. Lapchick has received an astonishing amount of recognitions, awards and honors for consistently bringing guidance and awareness to global issues such as programs related to race, environment and violence prevention. He has received numerous humanitarian awards, as well as been inducted in four notable Halls of Fame. Lapchick is the Chair of the DeVos Sport Management Program at UCF.
Susan O’Day – EVP Enterprise Technology and CIO, The Walt Disney Company
As Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for The Walt Disney Company, Susan O’Day leads the Disney Technology Solutions and Services team. She is a former senior executive of both Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global biopharmaceutical company, and CSX Corporation, a Florida-based transportation company.
Sherry Wheelock – President and CEO, Special Olympics Florida
As President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida, Sherry Wheelock has introduced unprecedented competitive opportunities for athletes across the state. Under her leadership, Special Olympics Florida has doubled in size, both in athletes (serving more than 54,000) and program operations (more than $19 million per year). Wheelock has more than 20 years in executive leadership. Prior to joining Special Olympics Florida, she was Vice President, Treasurer for Universal Orlando Resorts. Ms. Wheelock has served on the boards of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and North Florida and the Universal Orlando Foundation.
Additional dignitaries and key board members will continue to be announced throughout the coming year.
About 2022 Special Olympics USA Games:
Orlando was officially announced as the host city for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in May 2018. Taking place from June 5-11, 2022, more than 4,000 athletes, 10,000 volunteers, 1,500 coaches and 125,000 fans from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will travel to unite and participate in one of the world’s most cherished sporting events. The Games will be comprised of 20 Olympic-type team and individual sports and will be hosted at various world-class venues across the Orlando area.
Uproar PR for 2022 Special Olympics USA Games