(May 31, 2022) Unified partners Alexis Stewart and Tasha Kosinski will represent Team Tennessee in Unified Bowling in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Special Olympics Tennessee revealed Team Tennessee’s roster will compete in ten sports while in Orlando, Florida. The Unified pair was selected from Area 29 - Cheatham County to join 138 athletes, partners and coaches. In addition to being part of the Team Tennessee delegation, they will serve in a variety of event volunteer roles at the Games.
“I was so happy that my partner and friend got chosen to compete with me,” said Stewart. “I’m most excited about competing in Orlando because I get to show that I shine as one and I get to know different people in the USA. My favorite part about teaming up with Tasha is because it’s like being with my friend or family. She’s like a sister to me.”
Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
The two met six years ago at State Games and were paired in August of 2021. The two compete in basketball, flag football and volleyball where they have won 10 medals. Since finding out they were selected to compete, they have counted down the days until leaving for opening ceremonies and competitions.
“We only get gold,” said Unified Partner Kosinski. “She’s so talented. We have always just clicked and been a great pair in anything we do.”
Stewart is an accomplished bowler who loves to compete in different bowling alleys. When she was seven years old, she won a youth league with her team. She’s been awarded the most improved bowler twice in her career, won Tennessee Athlete of the Year in 2019 and currently competes in a bowling league called the Friday Night Mixers.
Stewart and Kosinski know there will be tough competition when in Florida, but their confidence has only grown as a pair and individually. The two will practice their own game and as a pair to prepare for the big competition. They practice at least once a week and check-in with each other to discuss their scores and game plan. Bowling competitions will begin on Monday, June 6, with competitions being held at the Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center.
The Team Tennessee delegation will stay on property at Walt Disney World throughout USA Games. The delegation will have athletes competing in bowling, flag football, basketball, track, swimming, bocce ball, tennis, golf, powerlifting and volleyball. Special Olympics USA Games will take place from June 5-11 with sports competing at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports and in the Greater Orlando area.
You can watch the Opening Ceremonies of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games on Sunday, June 5 at 11:00 AM Central Time on ABC.