Briana Larson of Plum City, Wisconsin, realized a dream when she competed in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games track and field events held June 15-22 in Orlando. Larson works at Koozie Group’s (PPAI 114187, S13) site in Red Wing, Minnesota.

The Competition

Larson had competed in Special Olympics events for 13 years before being chosen this year to compete in the National Games. She was one of 65 athletes and unified partners chosen to represent Wisconsin in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. The good news was revealed to her during a surprise pizza party held in her honor during Larson’s Special Olympics bowling team’s practice.

“I was so darned excited that I screamed and yelled a lot,” Larsons says. “I was happy and excited to be able to compete for a gold medal.”

The Wisconsin native won gold medals in the 100-meter run and the 4X100-meter relay, an amazing validation of her years of training and competing.

Koozie Group’s Support

Beyond athletic abilities, being selected to compete in the USA Games requires criteria to be met in social interaction and team building. There’s also the matter of the $500 cost of attending that must be raised. When Koozie Group found out about this requirement the company donated $1,500 in support of Larson.

With this donation, Larson was a top fundraiser, and thus was given the honor of representing Wisconsin as the state’s flag bearer in the pre-event ceremony.

“Once we found out that Briana was raising funds to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games, we knew we wanted to support her journey and help make her dream come true,” says Koozie Group Employee Experience and Communications Specialist Trisha Joyces. “We’re so proud of Briana for being selected to compete and happy that we could financially contribute to her success.”

Koozie Group presented Larson’s family with products to take to the USA Games and a good-luck banner signed by her co-workers. The company also printed a water bottle for each member of the Wisconsin Special Olympics team.

“It felt pretty darn good and exciting,” Larson says of the whole experience. “And I got to be on TV a lot. I loved it and I am going to try out again in four years. It’s a big deal.”