Published On: Tue, Nov 16th, 2021

2022 Special Olympics USA Games Selects Artist To Create and Bring Inspiring Cauldron Design To Life For Opening Ceremony

Donald Gialanella from St. Petersburg, Florida was selected to create the cauldron that will ignite and hold the “Flame of Hope” during the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida

Boca Raton, FL – The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, names Donald Gialanella the winner of the USA Games Cauldron Arts Project. Donald will design and produce an original cauldron that will be lit during the USA Games’ Opening Ceremony, kicking off the week-long event. Donald was chosen by a selection committee consisting of Special Olympics Athletes Katy Wilson and Mia Luoma, as well as local representatives from the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, Greater Orlando Sports Commission, City of Orlando, Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs and Osceola Arts. The committee looked for a design unique to 2022 Special Olympics USA Games and inspired by the tagline, “Shine as One.”

The cauldron is an iconic symbol for the 2022 USA Games. After it is lit during the Opening Ceremony at Exploria Stadium, it will reside at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the duration of the Games, June 5-12, 2022. At the conclusion of the Games, the cauldron will become a permanent statue in Orlando and create a legacy for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.

Gialanella, with input from Special Olympics athletes, will work to ensure the cauldron represents what the USA Games means to Special Olympics athletes. This process began with a workshop where Gialanella had the opportunity to hear first-hand from athletes what Special Olympics means to them and how important the USA Games are. The 2022 USA Games are built on the foundation of being athlete-driven, which means athletes will continue to play an important role throughout the production process.

“My passion for this project is rooted in my lifelong love for sports and Special Olympics,” said, Donald Gialanella. “I have Parkinson’s disease and have struggles in my everyday life, I can empathize with Special Olympics athletes and what they overcome on a daily basis. It is my mission to inspire with my art, share a message of inclusion and help others achieve their goals, something Special Olympics athletes do every day. I am honored to be part of something so universal and to bring to life a symbol of hope, unity and inclusion that will hopefully inspire many and allow these Games to shine brighter than ever.”

Donald Gialanella is a metal sculptor with more than 25 years of experience in design and fabrication, and has worked on more than 30 public projects. Originally from Maplewood, NJ, Gialanella now works out of his studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. Known for his larger-than-life sculptures in public and private collections across the United States, his work is installed in more than a dozen cities including, Los Angeles, New York, and Orlando. His background includes teaching art at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and ten years as an Emmy-winning television graphics producer in New York City. He has a long history displaying his work in Orlando’s public art programs. Most recently, he was commissioned to create an 11-foot-tall metal assemblage sculpture for Fire Station 9 in Orlando, Florida.

The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, will bring 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to Florida for one of the country’s most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and for the first time in its history will have 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout a week. Additionally, these USA Games will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Florida.

To learn more about the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, visit Follow the organization on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.  

About the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games 

The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Jersey Mike’s Subs is the Presenting Partner and the event is hosted by Disney. During this magical week, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean will travel to Florida to unite in one of the country’s most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and showcases 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout the week including forums and VIP receptions. Website:

About Greater Orlando Sports Commission

GO Sports is a private, non-profit organization established to attract and manage sports-related events, conferences and activities that drive positive economic development in the City of Orlando, Lake County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Seminole County. Founded in 1993, the organization has hosted or co-hosted more than 1,450 events in the Greater Orlando area with a total economic impact exceeding $1.9 billion in spending within the community. For more information, please visit

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