Every two years, Special Olympics athletes come together to compete at the Special Olympics World Games. This summer, over 6,500 athletes from 165 countries descended upon Los Angeles to show the true meaning of courage, joy and determination. Special Olympics Florida was proud to have 16 athletes represent the U.S.A. at this competition – competition that was only possible thanks to support from our biggest fans, volunteers, and donors like you.
Twelve of Special Olympics Florida’s athletes competed in Unified Soccer, a sports format that pairs together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.
As they huddled for their pregame chant, they prepared to meet the team from China in their chance to earn the bronze medal. With a final chant, they took the field. The stands were packed and the excitement palpable throughout the duration of the game. The crowd never sat down cheering on both teams with tireless enthusiasm. It was a close game, and Special Olympics USA triumphed 4-2 over China but teamwork was the theme of the game. “I think we all did best at hustling after the ball,” said Sammy. The first goal was scored by Rufus and the next by Haley. The crowd went wild after each goal and the team embraced, all extremely proud of each other. “It was fun playing with my team, they’re my best friends,” said Rufus. After the win they ran with the American Flag flowing behind them and posed for picture after picture. “I love this,” said Hassan. “I never want it to end.”