Disney Cast Member Competes Alongside Special Olympics Athletes in Unforgettable Experience

Faron Kelley

by , Vice President of Sports, ESPN Wide World of Sports & Water Parks at Walt Disney World Resort

When given the chance to be involved in the Special Olympics Unified Challenge, I couldn’t pass it up! The event teams up Special Olympics athletes, corporate employees and celebrities to compete in activities and bring awareness to unified sports. The unified sports program joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Being involved was an awesome experience – competing side-by-side with the athletes, feeling the energy on the field and seeing the joy of sports bring so many people together. Nothing gets better than that!

Sports are such a unifying force, and the Special Olympics USA Games is a perfect example of bringing people from all over the world together to compete, form connections and grow through the power of sport. My job is incredible. I get to watch athletes’ dreams come true every day and during these Games I know I will get to do the same, as we host them here at Walt Disney World.

My favorite game was by far the football toss because it took me back to when I was an athlete. The rush of adrenaline and the cheering of the crowd was phenomenal, but nothing beat the encouragement from my team during the event.

Having your team support you is what sports is about- believing in yourself and believing in each other and I felt that while I was on the field. I’m a competitive person and I can get caught up on winning, but I was reminded that winning isn’t everything. Being a supportive teammate, showing good sportsmanship, trying your best, and above all having fun is what truly makes you a winner. 

I am so excited to see what the rest of this week has to offer. These athletes are amazing, and they love what they do and every chance they get to compete. They are an inspiration of hope, confidence and courage. It was an honor to participate alongside true Olympians.