Held only once every four years, these three individuals will be experiencing a world-class event at the Special Olympics USA Games 2022. Participating will be a first for Special Pops Tennis Athlete, Allison Ferrer, and Board Members, Marcy Hirshberg and Viola Madej.


Metro Atlanta, Ga. (May 5, 2022) – Coming up June 5-12, 2022, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Georgia Team from Special Pops Tennis (SPT) will be Athlete Allison Ferrer along with SPT Board Members, Marcy Hirshberg as her Unified Partner and Viola Madej as Head Tennis Coach for the Team Georgia Delegation.

Allison will complete in singles play and unified doubles competition. When she was told she’d be competing in the 2022 Special Olympics Summer Games playing tennis, she was completely shocked and excited! She had no idea she was nominated so she was truly surprised!

Allison has been doing a lot of training with Viola. She’s been working hard and her family is supporting her. Of course, her Special Pops Tennis teammates are always cheering her on. Allison is practicing all her tennis skills, but she’s been honing her strengths such as her serves, forehand, backhand and keeping her eye on the ball. Allison shared, “I’m really focused on listening to what my coach says.”

She has participated in several Special Olympic events over the last 15 years. Her past involvement includes bowling (Winter Games); tennis and swimming (Summer Games); and equestrian (Fall and Summer Games).

Marcy, who has been involved with SPT programs since the 1990’s shared, “Participating in the 2022 USA Games will be my first time playing in national games and I am thrilled to be participating.” She added, “I just recently met Allison in August 2021 during the Special Pops Tennis Fall Training Academy at the Lifetime Tennis and Athletic – Peachtree location. We’ve been practicing together along with Viola since earlier in April.”

When we asked Marcy why being involved in Special Pops Tennis is important to her, she answered, “I love how happy it makes the Athletes. I enjoy watching their self-confidence grow and having camaraderie with each other.”

Viola shared, “When I was selected to serve as the Head Tennis Coach for the 2022 Team Georgia delegation, I was very excited and honored to be able to help these amazing athletes and their partners prepare for the event. I’ve been reaching out to previous participants for their guidance to ensure the athletes and their partners get the best possible experience.” She added, “We are practicing weekly to work on the tactics and strategy for singles and doubles.” The 2022 USA Games will also be a first for Viola.

“All of us at Special Pops Tennis are proud and excited for Allison, Marcy and Viola. I have great confidence they will represent the best of Special Pops Tennis as well as the State of Georgia,” stated Jim Hamm, SPT Executive Director. “I’ve known Marcy for over 20 years when she began volunteering with Special Pops Tennis programs through the ALTA Foundation. She’s been a board member since 2017 and her family currently volunteers for Special Pops Tennis at the East Roswell Park and Lifetime Tennis and Athletic locations.”

Jim added, “Viola, one of our newest board members, introduced a new multi-week fitness program for some of our Athletes this spring. Their physical improvement was beyond expectations. We all witnessed that, when challenged, our Athletes were able to move more than some of our coaches and families ever thought possible.” Viola responded by saying, “I believe movement is a privilege. A person is blessed when they are healthy enough to be able to move.”

The 2022 Team Georgia delegation has two athletes and two partners. They will be participating in singles and unified doubles. Located in Lake Nona, Tennis will be hosted at one of the top tier facilities in the nation, the USTA National Campus

About the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. 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: www.2022usagames.org. Be sure to check your television schedule as ESPN is broadcasting portions of the USA Games through their various network outlets.

About Special Pops Tennis

Special Pops Tennis (SPT) offers programs and services to our Athletes (children and adults with intellectual disabilities) to “Play Tennis; Make Friends; Live Life.” Without our programs, people with intellectual disabilities have limited experiences to gain the social and physical benefits of tennis from “outside the fence.”

Adaptive tennis programs provide the opportunity for the Athletes to come inside the fence. SPT programs are designed to develop life skills such as an active lifestyle, healthy food choices, positive self-esteem, respect for others, social interaction and problem-solving.

The Athletes face the challenge of learning differently in their life’s journey. Built upon healthy relationships with our volunteers, the Athletes and families develop friendships and participate in a sport that is based on inclusion and unconditional love for others. Beyond metro Atlanta, we are recognized as the training arm for launching additional adaptive tennis programs throughout Georgia.

For more information, please visit www.specialpopstennis.org or contact Jim Hamm, 404-702-5820, serve@specialpopstennis.org.