Matt Millett w/ Team USA (and Bill Russell!) in Hartford, Ct.
Welcome to Unity Cup Awareness Central! Over the upcoming weeks, we will be covering the journey of Matt Millett, of Grafton, Ma. as he prepares to travel to South Africa to participate in the Unity Cup, presented by Coca Cola. The Unity Cup is a Special Olympics exhibition match that will take place in Cape Town, South Africa on the field before a FIFA World Cup 2010 quarterfinal match. Matt is one of sixteen Special Olympics athletes world-wide, and the only one from the United States, who will be participating in the game. The 16 athletes will be paired with 16 former soccer legends, other celebrities and dignitaries, including South African President Jacob Zuma, former NBA basketball star Dikembe Mutombo, and many others
. The athletes and celebrities will participate together as teammates and opponents in a showcase of the Special Olympics Initiative, Unified Sports. Unified Sports brings together athletes with and without disabilities to enjoy sport without any barriers to participation. Friendships are made, stereotypes are shattered, and people with disabilities are able to be included with respect and dignity in good ole’-fashioned athletic competition.
There is no better place to showcase this movement than at the world’s most important sporting event, in a country with a rich history of breaking down false notions of separateness. Over these upcoming weeks, we will explore many themes associated with the Unity Cup and Matt Millett’s journey, from serious to humorous and everything in between. These themes will include the power of sport to unite people, the future of the Special Olympics Movement, and how this blog author and his bad back are going to be able to handle 20 hours of flying (though if Mandela spent 27 years in prison fighting for the freedom of an entire nation, I suppose I can handle some back pain on a few long flights). And for the sports die-hards out there, our trip will be complete if we can get a picture of a Dikembe Mutombo finger-wag!
We’ll be bringing you a combination of written word, pictures, and video. A great way to follow this story will be to “like” Special Olympics Massachusetts on facebook or follow us on twitter.
We are very grateful to Sky’z The Limit, a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development center, for providing the resources to make this multi-media experiment a reality. Let’s have some fun!