2014 Special Olympics USA Games Get Ready To Kick Off - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

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2014 Special Olympics USA Games Get Ready To Kick Off

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Athletes from across the country traveled in style to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.

"They're getting treated like the world class athletes they should. When they land they won't touch their baggage until they get to their dorm room. No different than when Peyton Manning came here for the Super Bowl. They're getting the VIP treatment," Chairman and CEO of 2014 Special Olympics USA Games T.J. Nelligan said.

Basketball player Amy Williams of Dublin, Ohio was the first off the plane.

A red carpet and large welcome committee greeted her and the others representing the Buckeye State.

"It was awesome having all them people," Williams said.

The private jets kept coming, landing every few minutes at the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift at the Trenton-Mercer Airport.

"Our customers are volunteering their aircraft, their crews, or sometimes the owners themselves are flying, their time to transport athletes from across the US to the games," Kriya Shortt of Textron Aviation said.

56-year-old John Conyer of Columbus has been participating in Special Olympics for nearly three decades.

This year he's competing in tennis.

"My goal is not only to come here and win a medal, if I can win that's fine, but if I cannot win that's great, as long as I try to put a smile on somebody else's face,” Conyer said.

Much like Conyer, track and field athlete Michael Blower of West Virginia said the program provides so much more than an opportunity to compete.

It gives him an opportunity to live.

"I just love doing it, and I don't think I'll ever stop doing it. It's changed my life completely. It let me see new things, meet new people and try new things. I've been places I've never been before,” Blower said.

After soaking in all the excitement, one more ride awaited the athletes.

The teams loaded on a charter bus to head to their dorm rooms, brimming with enthusiasm.

The athletes will now rest up and get ready for the Opening Ceremonies at the Prudential Center in Newark Sunday afternoon.

The events begin Monday morning and run all week.

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