Gymnastics, Passion and Camaraderie Unite Special Olympics Athletes and Cirque du Soleil Professionals

In Celebration of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Gymnasts from Team Florida Performed Together With Drawn to Life Troupe for a Once in a Lifetime Experience

ORLANDO, Fla., June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As a proud sponsor of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, Cirque du Soleil welcomed gymnasts from Special Olympics Team Florida to perform together with artists from Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney. The Drawn to Life team provided a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to four athletes to meet five members from the show’s artistic gymnastic team for a unique and exclusive training session.

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Drawn to Life, features performers and acrobats from 15 countries, including Japan, Canada, Colombia, and Peru. Members from the Japanese rhythmic gymnastics troupe spent time with the Special Olympics athletes, demonstrating the warm-up and stretching routines they perform before each practice and show. The Team Florida gymnasts stretched alongside them, sharing their favorite moves and demonstrating their favorite preparation steps as well.

After the practice, the Cirque du Soleil performers invited the athletes to an exclusive opportunity to perform on the show’s performance mat, on the theater’s incredible stage. From there, the two teams worked alongside each other, united in their shared passion for gymnastics. Team Florida learned from the troupe, ultimately finishing the session by performing a piece of Drawn to Life choreography together on stage.

“Special Olympics focuses on the transformative power and joy of sport,” shared Lauren Petrick, Special Olympics Florida Gymnastics coach, “The opportunity to bring athletes from Team Florida together with the professional athletes from Cirque du Soleil, inspired us all. Both groups were joined by their spirit and commitment to their sport. They saw how the way they train, practice, perform and celebrate, is the same.”

The athletes that took part were from various parts of Florida, including Gainesville, Stuart and Miami.

“Orlando has become a second home to the performers in Drawn to Life,” said Heather Reilly, Company Manager, Drawn to Life, “And with the USA Games taking place here, we wanted to have the opportunity to share our passion with the visiting athletes. Having the gymnasts visit our theater and meet with our performers was an experience everyone will remember.”

As part of the Cirque du Soleil partnership, a special invitation-only performance of Drawn to Life took place for Special Olympics USA Games honored guests on Sunday, June 5, providing an incredible experience to the attendees as the weeklong Games event kicked off.

So how did Team Florida’s artistic gymnastics team do during the USA Games? In total, the team’s athletes earned 90 medals, including 35 gold medals throughout the competition.

About the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, welcomed 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to Florida for the largest Games event ever. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and, for the first time in its history, athletes participated in 20 Olympic-style team and individual sports. During the USA Games, Special Olympics Florida was honored as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

About Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney

Set your imagination in motion with Drawn to Life—a love letter to the art of Disney Animation interpreted through the acrobatic mastery of Cirque du Soleil. The show tells the story of a determined girl who embarks on an inspiring quest filled with her childhood Disney memories, brought to life through Cirque du Soleil’s innovative design and dazzling performances. Gather your whole family for an unforgettable leap into this first-ever creative collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and Disney.

Media Contact:

Ann Paladie, Director of Communications
Cirque du Soleil