The most powerful way to get someone involved with the Special Olympics mission is to let them experience, on a personal level, how it feels to compete, side-by-side, with our courageous athletes. This is exactly what Unity Sports is doing here at the World Games.
Yesterday, I walked onto the Beach Volleyball court to spectate the Unity Sports Beach Volleyball game, which was alongside the ocean in Athens, and that place was rocking! The energy coming from the court and crowd was contagious. Music was blaring, fans and athletes were clapping and dancing, and everyone was smiling.
Beach Volleyball is not an official Special Olympics competition, but this year it was being showcased as an exhibition sport. Part of this exhibition was a Unity Sports Beach Volleyball game. Mattel employees volunteering at the World Games helped organize this event. Adriana Behar, Brazilian Olympic Beach Volleyball Player, Vanja Grbic, Serbian Olympic Volleyball player, Tom Hoff, USA Volleyball National Team and Olympic player, Marios Giourdas, Greek Olympic Volleyball player, and Vasso Karadassiou, Greek Olympic Volleyball player all played in the Unity Game alongside Special Olympics athletes. It was a fierce competition. The white team, who called themselves “The Ringers”, because Eddie Barbanell was on their team, came out ahead from the start. Tom Hoff did not like one of the calls by the line judge but they still managed to maintain a strong lead for most of the game. Then, the Green team fought back and closed the gap. But ultimately, The Ringers were victorious winning over the Green team 21-18.
It was such a great event and amazing to see more and more
people playing unified to live unified!