Two Athletes To Compete In National Special Olympics

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Arizona's contingent to the inaugural 2006 Special Olympics USA National Summer Games will include two Payson athletes and a coach.

Joey Van Ravensway and Todd Orr will compete in track and field, and Ruby Lane will coach the Arizona aquatics team.

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Arizona's contingent to the inaugural 2006 Special Olympics USA National Summer Games will include two Payson athletes and a coach. Joey Van Ravensway and Todd Orr will compete in track and field and Ruby Lane will coach the Arizona aquatics team.

Van Ravensway will compete in the 800-meter race walk and Orr in the middle distances.

The two were selected to participate after submitting an application that included their winning times from the Arizona State Special Olympic games.

"They were good enough to earn them an invitation," Lane said.

The Arizona team will include 44 athletes and 15 coaches from around the state.

The games will be held July 2 through July 7 on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

The event is expected to attract 3,000 athletes, 1,000 coaches and 9,000 family and friends from around the United States.

In addition to aquatics and track and field, the national games feature competitions in basketball, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball and volleyball.

The trio will depart July 1 for the games when a Cessna Citation corporate jet picks them up at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and flies them to Des Moines, Iowa.

The Cessna Aircraft Company has organized the move to get the athletes to the games calling it "one of the largest private airlifts in aviation history."

The airlift will involve more than 230 Cessna Citations, which will land or take off every 60 to 90 seconds, for a 12-hour period, turning Des Moines International Airport into one of the busiest airports in the country that day.

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