For Special Olympics Jamaica Unified Cup Athletes and Coaches, Inclusion Is Much More Than a Good Word

Special Olympics Jamaica and Special Olympics Paraguay square off at the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022.

Photo by Ken Smith

Giovanni Britton, next, was excited for special olympics jamaica To play their first match of the tournament on 1 August 2022 against Special Olympics Paraguay, There was no nerve problem for him. This is his first trip outside Jamaica and his team started the week with a resounding victory. With all goals scored in a thrilling first half, Jamaica beat Special Olympics Paraguay 4–0.

The Briton joined the Special Olympics 16 years ago but only started playing soccer (football) this year. “I wanted to try something new and exciting. Jamaica has a great football heritage.” Through the Special Olympics, the Briton learned a life-lesson that anyone can appreciate, “You should know you can do anything. Keep trying and don’t give up. just do your best. just try.”

Giovanni and Coach Shane stand next to each other and smile at the camera.

Giovanni Britton and coach Shane Richards before Special Olympics Jamaica’s match against Special Olympics Paraguay.

When the Briton joined a webinar for the Special Olympics International staff, which was leading up to integrated cup, Special Olympics Board President Timothy Shriver Britain’s words were inspiring. “Everyone, all of us, can learn from Britons. We can always try it.”

It is this positive attitude that Coach Shane Richards is proud to say is shared among the entire team. “Giovanni is a team player like everyone else. It’s not about any one person, it’s about everyone’s contribution.” Richard coached the Jamaican team to finish second in the first Unified Cup held in Chicago in 2018. “Of course, we want to do better than that. We want to win. But it’s not all about winning. It’s about teamwork, exposure and traveling for the first time for something.”

Richards joined the Special Olympics 19 years ago when he learned there was a school for students with special needs next to the school he had worked at as head football coach. Even after so many years, he says that his passion for the movement is increasing continuously.

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