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Athletes fly in style to compete in 2022 Special Olympics in Orlando

2022 Special Olympics kick off in Orlando
2022 Special Olympics kick off in Orlando 01:40

The Special Olympics kicked off in Orlando Monday with more than 5,500 athletes from all 50 states taking part. But for some, just getting to the games was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

With the choreography of a ballet, 128 private jets with 800 athletes on board from 28 states touched down just minutes apart in the world's largest peacetime airlift.

The Texas men's basketball team flew in on a luxurious Cessna Citation. For player David Acevedo, it was his first time on a jet.

"I'm loving it!" he told CBS News. "Every moment, every minute."

The airlift took two years of careful planning.

"The biggest single cost for these Olympic teams is their travel costs," Ron Draper, the president of Textron Aviation, said. "So this is one way to help them get to the games in style, offset their costs for them."

Pilots like Ray Bailey donate their time, aircraft and fuel to help fly the athletes from wherever they are in the U.S.

"To see the excitement on these kids' face, to me, is what makes this all worth it," she told CBS News.

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