Unified sports is more than competition
There are few moments that match the excitement of representing your school and hometown at a State Championship. On Wednesday May 29, 2019, students from 54 Massachusetts schools had the opportunity at the 2019 MIAA Unified Track & Field state meet. While 54 schools were represented at States, this was a record year with 81 Massachusetts schools participating in Unified Track & Field locally this season.
On a chilly late-May day at Milford High School, athletes and Unified partners competed side by side in track and field events including javelin, long jump, shot put, 100m dash, 400m dash and relays.
Athletes and partners are organized in tiers by performance in each event, not based on whether they do or do not have a disability. Each participant gave it their all with athletes and partners gracing the top of the podium based on their performance against others in their tier. There are no specific shirts or labels distinguishing athletes from partners — they’re all teammates, representing their school and hometown.
Parents, teachers, friends and classmates cheered as each student athlete competed. Groups that weren’t competing sat on the grass with friends waiting for medaling or their next event. They demonstrated that Unified sports is about more than competing, it’s about inclusion and supporting one another, regardless of disability.
Full results can be found at the links below:
Photos can be found on our Smugmug page.
About the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association:
The mission of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) is to serve member schools and the maximum number of their students by providing leadership and support for the conduct of interscholastic athletics which enriches the educational experiences of all participants. The MIAA promotes interschool athletics that provide lifelong and life quality learning experiences to students while enhancing their achievement of educational goals.
About Special Olympics Massachusetts:
Special Olympics Massachusetts provides year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programming for over 13,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state in over 470 sporting competitions each year. Special Olympics Massachusetts also works with over 500 Massachusetts schools promoting inclusive sports and leadership. Through the power of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
About Unified Sports:
Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive sports program that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) on teams for training and competition. Special Olympics Massachusetts is proud to have founded the Unified Sports movement in 1984. Although the initiative began locally, today it is featured in over 120 countries globally through the international Special Olympics Movement.