There was a local Special Olympics swim meet happening in my city, and I was asked if I would come and give out medals. I didn't know very much about Special Olympics except that it provided sport programs to people with intellectual disabilities. I reluctantly accepted the invitation. I could have never imagined how this single act would change my life forever.
The Special Olympics World Games will, for a short period of time, make disability visible. But we should not be persuaded that this is what inclusion looks like, and should continue to fight for greater participation by students with disabilities in our schools, communities, and even our sports leagues.
Special Olympics athletes were told that they would never amount to anything and their families were encouraged to institutionalize them. Their victory is not only the result of the same hard work that all athletes put in, but also the courage to overcome obstacles many athletes do not face and redefine what is possible.