Sports are a big deal.

Whether it’s playing on a team or watching from the couch, athletic competition is an inescapable part of American culture; 7 out of 10 Americans watched the Super Bowl this year, and 7.7 million high school students played high school sports in 2013. This summer, sports will be used to bring people together, not to divide them into Varsity and JV or first pick and last pick, but rather, in a revolutionary fashion introduced by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968. Starting on June 14, over 3,500 individuals with and without intellectual disabilities will come together on a level playing field at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

In addition to the athletes competing for gold, silver, and bronze medals, over 100 high school students with and without intellectual disabilities will meet at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Youth Summit as leaders within Project UNIFY, Special Olympics’ education and sports based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all.

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