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Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program Makes the Impossible Possible

MATP demonstration at Tal-Qroqq Sports Complex at the Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games 2022.

“Leaving no one behind, Special Olympics is committed to everyone. If we didn’t reach the most excluded ones, we wouldn’t succeed in our mission of inclusion.” With these words, Special Olympics International Board Member Eleni Rossides introduced the Motor Activity Training Program (MATP) to a crowd of 200 students at the Malta Invitational Games 2022 University Forum in May.

From 14 – 18 May 2022, Special Olympics Malta welcomed 23 international delegations from across the globe to compete in six different sports disciplines for the Invitational Games. Next to the sports competition, the event offered a few demonstrations and non-sport activities that offered an insight into the overall work of Special Olympics Malta.

The MATP demonstration took place on 12 May at Tal-Qroqq Sports Complex, where hundreds of university students happily volunteered to assist the Special Olympics staff in leading training and exercises for athletes with severe disabilities.

Special Olympics Malta has always been very determined in the implementation of its MATP program and they have been pioneers of the Unified MATP model, which allows people with and without intellectual disabilities to train and play sports together.

Today, approximately 150 athletes participate in the MATP activities in Malta and the number continues to grow.

The Motor Activity Training Program is different from the other sports disciplines and activities offered by Special Olympics. It focuses on athletes with the most severe and profound intellectual disabilities, and it aims at improving their lives by helping and supporting them in the development of motor skills.

A woman standing and talking from a podium.

Special Olympics International Board Director and Special Olympics Cyprus National Director, Eleni Rossides, addressing the students at the University Forum of the Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games.

Photo by DAVID MALLIA

The people who belong to MATP are the most marginalized in a group of people already overlooked by society: they often live with an associated health condition, have a mortality rate three times higher than the average population and are less likely to be included in the communities they live in.

Founded in the late 1980s, MATP ensures that no athlete is left behind because the activities offered are tailored to the abilities and age of each person individually. Participants are encouraged to improve their personal best in a fun, safe and creative environment.

“[Back in the 1980s] Special Olympics did not have program for children and adults with severe, multiple disabilities, and many programs in the US and around the world were creating their own. Special Olympics International decided to form a group of experts in coaching, adapted PE, physical therapy and special education to create a program for athletes with severe disabilities,” explains University of Virginia Professor Martin Block, who was among the group of experts who developed MATP. “Our biggest challenge was making sure the activities had a sport theme: many of the suggestions were more focused on therapy or very simple motor skills. Mrs. Shriver wanted to make sure that the new program had a sport focus and we ended up creating “motor activities” such as throwing, striking, kicking, rolling, and pushing a wheelchair but applied these to sports. For example, kicking was associated with soccer, striking was associated with softball, and throwing was associated with softball or bowling.”

A man and two women standing next to each other engaged in conversation.

Professor Martin Block talking to Special Olympics Malta President, Dr. Lydia Abela, and Special Olympics National Director, Anna Calleja.

Photo by DAVID MALLIA

With a few rare exceptions, MATP athletes usually don’t participate on a competitive level as that isn’t the purpose of the program. The real goal is to help the athletes to improve coordination and control of the body and to ensure that all athletes are included.

Currently, the Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program includes 52,370 athletes globally and about 26,000 of these live in the Europe Eurasia region. Although the numbers are encouraging, this program could potentially assist a lot more people. Considering that countries globally have an average of 8 – 10% people with disabilities and that 2% of these have a severe intellectual disability, there is potential for 1.5 million people in our region to improve their dexterity and social skills through MATP, as explained at the University Forum by Eleni Rossides who, in addition to her role on the Board of Special Olympics, is also Special Olympics Cyprus National Director.

“Sports gives us a place to belong and to develop skills we never knew we had. MATP is such a good example of the real meaning of inclusion, and it is incredibly rewarding because it makes the impossible possible.”

Eleni Rossides, Special Olympics Board of Directors and Special Olympics Cyprus National Director

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USWNT’s Olympic Gold Medal Pursuit Ends With Loss To Canada

The gold medal for women’s soccer at the Tokyo Olympics will not be coming back to the United States.

The U.S., which entered the tournament as the favorite to win the ultimate prize, had its dreams of claiming gold crushed by Canada on Monday. The Canadians narrowly edged out their North American counterpart in the semifinal matchup, as Jessie Fleming’s penalty kick goal in the 75th minute was the difference in the 1-0 victory.

Canada, which earned bronze in the last two Olympic Games, had not beaten the United States in any forum since 2001.

The Americans will settle for the bronze medal match, which is set for Thursday. They’ll face off against the loser of the Australia-Sweden semifinal clash, while the winner of that contest will meet Canada with gold on the line.

Thumbnail photo via
Jack Gruber/USA TODAY Sports Images

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Olympic Games: IOC yet to decide if boxing will be included at Los Angeles 2028

Michael Conlan’s loss to Vladimir Nikitin in the 2016 Olympic quarter-final was named as a ‘suspicious’ bout in a 2021 investigation into boxing

The International Olympic Committee says it is yet to decide if boxing will be at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Boxing was not in an initial programme for the 2028 Olympics, but could be added if it addresses ethical concerns.

Following a meeting of the IOC’s executive board, the federation said the sport’s inclusion would be “discussed at a later stage”.

An independent investigation said the sport needed to take action on ethical issues to secure its Olympic future.

A report shared on Monday found a “historical culture of bout manipulation”, including at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

After Friday’s meeting, the IOC said: “Whether or not boxing will be included on the sports programme of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 will be discussed at a later stage.”

The IOC said that global governing body the International Boxing Association would not be allowed to run the boxing competition at Paris 2024 or qualifiers for those games – a repeat of a similar decision taken before the Tokyo Games.

“The decision is centred on the athletes and the need to provide certainty on the Olympic competitions and qualifications leading to Paris 2024,” a statement said.

“It follows the continuing and very concerning issues of the IBA, such as its governance and its refereeing and judging system.”

2026 Games will have record number of women’s events

The board also approved the programme for the Milan Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026.

The programme includes a record number of women’s events with 50 and will have the highest female participation for a Winter Games at 47%.

Changes include three events in ski mountaineering – a new Olympic sport which involves skiing uphill and downhill in a race.

There will also be a skeleton mixed team event, separate women’s doubles and men’s doubles events in luge, freestyle skiing men’s and women’s dual moguls and ski jumping women’s large hill individual.

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FanSided Guest Stars on Inclusion Revolution Radio

Ian, Zach, and Hunter of FanSided guest starred on this week’s episode of Inclusion Revolution Radio.

Podcast host Novie Craven welcomed Zach Best, Ian Levy, and Hunter Armor of FanSided on this week’s episode of Inclusion Revolution Radio. Zach is the Founder and CEO of FanSided, Hunter is the Head of Video, and Ian is the Editorial Director. Topics include theinclude their recent work at the Special Olympics USA Games Orlando 2022  as volunteers, what s volunteers, what sparked their interest in Special Olympics and more.

Group of people watching a powerpoint slide in a meeting.

Informational meeting held by FanSided at the Special Olympics USA Games Orlando 2022.

FanSided’s brand is centered around sports, entertainment, and lifestyle. The outlet has over 300 communities dedicated to bringing together fans who share common interests in their favorite teams. FanSided has covered several campaigns, stories, and events over the years, and most recently attended the Special Olympics USA Games 2022 in Orlando, Florida. They continue to be outstanding supporters of our movement.

Be sure to subscribe to Inclusion Revolution Radio to stay up to date with the latest news pertaining to the Special Olympics movement.

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Watch Red Sox Prospect Triston Casas Launch Olympic Home Run Vs. Japan

Red Sox prospect Triston Casas has looked like a major league hitter on one of the biggest baseball stages there is.

The first baseman is making his impact at the Summer Olympics, where the Team USA first baseman showed off his impressive power Monday against Japan.

Casas, who was part of an early-game comeback, crushed a go-ahead, three-run home run in the fifth inning off Japanese reliever Koyo Aoyagi.

That’s legitimately impressive power from Casas, who was able to inside-out a pitch down and in out to the opposite field.

As mentioned, Casas earlier in the game worked an impressive walk against former New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as part of a game-tying three-run rally in the fourth inning.

Casas has been simply sensational for Team USA in Tokyo. Midway through Monday’s game with Japan, he’s 3-for-11 at the Games with two home runs and six RBIs. He has driven in a run in each of the Americans’ three games thus far.

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Latest Update Regarding the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

Special Olympics followed expert medical advice in requiring vaccines for athletes preparing for and participating in the 2022 USA Games to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. However, Special Olympics honored Florida’s request by allowing a number of unvaccinated athletes to participate since 98% of athletes attending would be vaccinated. Each decision Special Olympics took was guided by the best interests of our athletes, and we stand by them all. 

Special Olympics regrets that some athletes were not able to participate in the 2022 USA Games due to expert medical guidelines established for those games. We look forward to welcoming them all safely to future events.

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Simone Biles Returning To Compete In Olympics Balance-Beam Final

Simone Biles is stepping back into the Olympic spotlight.

USA Gymnastics announced in a statement Biles will compete in Tuesday in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Olympics. Biles and all-around gold medalist Suni Lee will represent Team USA in the last women’s gymnastics event final of the Games.

“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!? USA Gymnastics wrote.

Biles will return to competition one week after she withdrew from the team finals and six days after she opted out of the individual all-around competition in order to focus on her mental health. As one of the world’s most high-profile athletes, her decision represents one of the leading storylines of the Tokyo Olympics, as it prompted criticism and support from all corners of the sports world.

Biles won the bronze medal in the balance beam at the 2016 Olympics, one of five medals she claimed at the Rio de Janeiro Games. She earned a silver medal in Tokyo for her role in the team finals, at which the Russian Olympic Committee won gold.

The balance beam final is scheduled to begin at 4:53 a.m. ET.

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Gymnastics abuse: Whyte Review finds physical and emotional abuse issues were ‘systemic’

Warning: This article contains some description of graphic injuries and abuse.

Issues of physical and emotional abuse within gymnastics in Britain were “systemic”, an independent investigation has found.

The Whyte Review, co-commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England, was released on Thursday and found gymnast wellbeing and welfare “has not been at the centre of British Gymnastics’ culture”.

Athletes were made to train on injuries, punished for needing the toilet, sat on by coaches, shouted and sworn at and had their bags searched for food.

The review said the difficulties now facing British Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body, are “borne of inadequate practice and procedure”, and reflect a culture which was the product of “the way in which people behaved and were allowed to behave”.

There was a sense, it added, that British Gymnastics had “not only failed to prevent or limit such behaviours but had condoned some of them in the pursuit of national and international competitive success”.

The former chief executive of British Gymnastics, Jane Allen, who retired in December 2020, was criticised in the report for a “lack of leadership” and an “organisational failure to appreciate the central importance of athlete welfare”.

In a statement, she said she was “deeply sorry I didn’t do more for everyone – especially the athletes – to feel supported, able to speak up and heard”.

The Whyte Review was commissioned in 2020 following allegations of abuse and mistreatment within gymnastics in Britain.

UK Sport and Sport England said they “welcomed” the report and “accepted and endorsed” its recommendations – adding gymnastics’ continued funding will “depend on its new leadership teams making significant changes to the sport” in the timeline set out in the Whyte Review.

British Gymnastics said it wanted to “wholeheartedly apologise” to gymnasts who had suffered and that it would “not shy away from doing what is needed”.

In addition to her 17 recommendations, Anne Whyte QC said a sports ombudsman would be “an obvious step in the right direction”.

She also stipulated that the British Gymnastics board publish details of its progress in complying with her recommendations at six, 12 and 24-month intervals, with the expectation that “most if not all of them” are implemented within two years.

In the report, Whyte said: “I hope that the findings in this report will allow the gymnast community to feel that the failures of the past have been publicly recognised and enable the sport to move forward and make positive changes.”

She added: “I am confident that the sport of gymnastics is already undergoing change for the good.”

What did the review find?

The review, which focused on the period from August 2008 to August 2020, received more than 400 submissions, including 133 from current and former gymnasts, and conducted 190 interviews.

Of those 400-plus submissions:

  • More than 40% described physically abusive behaviour towards gymnasts by coaches, including physical chastisement, inappropriate training on injury, overstretching to the point of distress and withholding food, water and access to the toilet.
  • More than 50% reported an element of emotional abuse by coaches, such as swearing, name calling, use of belittling language and gaslighting.
  • Some 30 submissions included allegations of sexual abuse, such as sexual assault, sexual remarks, inappropriate touching and kissing as a punishment.
  • More than 25% included reference to excessive weight management.

The review states the “vast majority” of reports about physically and emotionally abusive behaviour related to female gymnasts, and such behaviour was more prevalent at the elite end of the sport.

On weight management, it said “the tyranny of the scales was coach-led and quite unnecessary”.

No individual coaches were named in the report, in which Whyte said the scale of emotional abuse was “far larger than British Gymnastics had appreciated”.

During the 12-year period covered by the review – during which British Gymnastics received more than £38m in UK Sport funding – the governing body received approximately 3,800 complaints.

The review also pointed to the recruitment of coaches from, or from countries influenced by, the former Soviet Union, whose “technical skill and experience was sometimes accompanied by an attitude to the gymnast which was autocratic and dismissive and left athletes feeling like commodities”.

What were some of the examples given of abuse?

Anecdotes from submissions include:

  • One former elite gymnast described being made to stand on the beam for two hours because she was frightened to attempt a skill. Some gymnasts were strapped to bars for extended periods of time while others were made to climb the rope because they needed the toilet or exceeded a break time.
  • One gymnast was deliberately dropped from equipment and dragged across the gym floor by their arms, while others were pressured to train on injuries, including broken bones.
  • One gymnast recalls at the age of seven being sat on by a coach, while a parent reported two coaches at once pushing their child’s legs down into a split. An international competitor recalled their coach sitting on a gymnast’s back, forcing their hips into the floor and then lifting up their knee.
  • Verbal comments made to gymnasts included that they were “a waste of space”, “a joke” and “pathetic” – while in relation to excessive weight management, comments included “you look like a whale”, “you look like you have a beer belly”, and “your thighs are disgusting”.
  • Some coaches went to damaging length to control what gymnasts ate and weighed. Gymnasts had their weights publicly announced, were told to send photographs to prove they had lost weight, and had their lunch packs and bags searched for food. Gymnasts would hide food, including in ceiling tiles, and were told “not to eat grapes” because “they are the highest-fat fruit”.
  • As a result, a “significant” number of gymnasts developed dysfunctional relationships with food, weight and body image, and reports of purging were not uncommon in the submissions.

Whyte said the “unacceptable culture” described in the report “will not be fully eradicated until the national and international leadership within the sport publicly recognise its existence”.

What are the recommendations?

Recommendations to British Gymnastics focus on four key areas: safeguarding and welfare, complaints handling, standards and educations, and governance and oversight.

The recommendations include:

  • All club owners and managers should have mandatory safeguarding training, and high-performance gymnasts should have access to an independent disclosure service and dedicated welfare officer outside their club.
  • British Gymnastics must have a fit-for-purpose case management system that covers number and nature of complaints, and must ensure all welfare-related complaints about employed coaches are independently investigated.
  • The organisation should appoint a director of education and increase its direct contact with registered clubs.
  • British Gymnastics must appoint independent board members with relevant expertise.

What have the governing bodies said?

A joint statement from UK Sport and Sport England said: “The gymnasts’ experiences shared in this review are harrowing and distressing to read. No-one in sport should ever be subjected to such abuse.

“We want to publicly acknowledge and thank all of those who were courageous in coming forward. Your voices are heard. You have played a vital part in fundamentally shaping the future of gymnastics in Britain, to help make it safe and inclusive for future generations to come.

“Duty of care to athletes and participants is the responsibility of national governing bodies. British Gymnastics clearly fell short of this.

“At this time, our intention is to continue to fund British Gymnastics, as we believe that withdrawing funding would not only prevent them from implementing the vital changes outlined in the report but also negatively impact on the support to and wellbeing of gymnasts now.

“However, we are clear that continued funding for British Gymnastics will depend on its new leadership team making significant changes to the sport, to the timelines set out in the report’s recommendations.”

British Gymnastics’ chief executive Sarah Powell, who has been in the post since October, said gymnasts’ experiences as detailed in the review were “not acceptable” and she found the report “emotional” reading.

She said it was a “watershed moment” for not just gymnastics, but safeguarding across all sports.

“Gymnastics will be different because of the bravery of the gymnasts who stood up,” she said.

In a statement, she said: “British Gymnastics accepts all of the recommendations and key findings. We will not shy away from doing what is needed.

“I want to wholeheartedly apologise to the gymnasts who have suffered as a result of us not working to the standards we set ourselves. We are sorry.”

She added: “Let me be clear; there is no place for abuse of any kind in our sport and coaching standards of the past will not be those of the future.

“We will build a new culture and ensure the gymnast’s voice is at the heart of all we do. We will change gymnastics for the better.”

Why was the review commissioned?

UK Sport and Sport England commissioned the independent review – led by Anne Whyte QC – in July 2020 after allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics. The review formally began the following month.

The review assessed whether:

  • Gymnasts’ wellbeing and welfare is (and has been) at the centre of the culture of British Gymnastics, its registered clubs and member coaches and if not, why not.
  • Safeguarding concerns and complaints have been dealt with appropriately in the sport of gymnastics and if not, why not.
  • Gymnasts, or their parents, carers or guardians, have felt unable to raise complaints with appropriate authorities and if so, why.

The review also investigated the “nature and volume of complaints received by British Gymnastics”, the governing body’s approach to resolving the complaints, and its culture and practices.

How did we get here?

The Whyte Review report did not mention individual coaches or athletes.

  • July 2020: Nicole Pavier is among a number of gymnasts to make the first allegations of a “culture of fear” within the “mentally and emotionally abusive” sport of gymnastics.
  • Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie say abusive behaviour in gymnastics training became “ingrained” and “completely normalised”, while then-British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen says she is “appalled and ashamed” by the allegations.
  • Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler criticises British Gymnastics for the time it has taken to investigate a formal complaint she made in 2019.
  • A helpline is launched by the NSPCC and British Athletes Commission to support gymnasts. It receives more than 120 calls in its first five weeks.
  • August 2020: The Whyte Review is formally started.
  • Pavier’s former coach, Claire Barbieri, is suspended, while British Gymnastics’ head national coach Amanda Reddin steps aside after allegations are made against her. Both denied the allegations made against them.
  • Olympic bronze medallist Nile Wilson alleges gymnasts are “treated like pieces of meat”.
  • September 2020: Two further coaches – Helen Potter and Rory Weavers – are temporarily suspended pending investigation. Both denied the allegations made against them. Their temporary suspension has since been lifted.
  • October 2020: British Gymnastics chief executive Allen announces she will retire in December.
  • November 2020: British Gymnastics sets up an independent complaints process to oversee allegations of mistreatment by athletes.
  • February 2021: A group of 17 start legal action against British Gymnastics. A further 20 later join the group claim.
  • June 2021: Sarah Powell is named British Gymnastics chief executive, and says she is “under no illusions about the scale of change needed” to improve the culture at the organisation.
  • August 2021: British Gymnastics chairman Mike Darcey apologises to the gymnastics community for failing to act on allegations of mistreatment.
  • April 2022: BBC Sport reveals leading coach Liz Kincaid was pulled from Great Britain’s coaching squad just weeks before the Tokyo Olympics after a serious allegation was made against her. She denied wrongdoing.
  • May 2022: National head coach Reddin steps down from her position with immediate effect. Previous claims against her were not upheld and her suspension was lifted, but another independent investigation is ongoing into “further historical complaints”.
  • June 2022: BBC Sport reveals ex-acrobatic gymnast Eloise Jotischky is the first to win a civil case against British Gymnastics for the abuse she experienced in the sport, with the organisation admitting full liability.
  • The Whyte Review is published.

If you have been affected by issues raised in this article, there is information and support available on BBC Action Line.

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Key to success of Special Olympics Malta Games

Special Olympics Gibraltar football team celebrate their triumph at the Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games which were held from 14 to 18 May 2022.

Specifically, the Games would not have been possible without the immense support of the Government of Malta and SportMalta who funded the event, as well as that of key advocates at all levels of public life, First Lady of Malta and President of Special Olympics Malta, Dr. Lydia Abela and European Union Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli. Support for visiting delegations was also key with U.S. Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) to Malta Gwendolyn “Wendy” Green not only leading one of the Special Olympics delegation in the Parade of Athletes, but also supporting the Games before and on the ground throughout.

A woman wearing a blue top and white trousers stands with her arms around a girl wearing a red t-shirt, black trousers and a medal around her neck, both smiling at the camera.

Dr. Lydia Abela, President of Special Olympics Malta, with medal-winning Special Olympics Malta athlete at the Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games from 14 to 18 May 2022.

Photo by Claire Behan

Speaking at the Games, Dr. Lydia Abela, President of Special Olympics Malta, reflected on why the event attracted such widespread support from partners. She noted, “This event showcased the willpower, the strength, the determination and the commitment of people with intellectual disabilities. Malta was honored to showcase these Games. For our nation, it was the perfect opportunity to show how much we value unity and to celebrate diversity and inclusion. The athletes had a mission in Malta—that mission was to show the world that sport has the power to bring people together and it is better when we are together!”

Anna Calleja, National Director of Special Olympics Malta, worked tirelessly and hand in hand with partners, the Government of Malta and SportMalta to bring the Games to fruition. She noted, “We were working in a difficult and different environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The support of the Government and SportMalta not only allowed us to make progress across projects and in the refurbishment of infrastructure at venues, but also in the delivery of a top class and well-organized Games.”

She added, “Having the support of the Government is huge when it comes to Special Olympics Malta. The fact that the Government is in supporting Special Olympics athletes sends a strong message of inclusion, equality, accountability and trust. Having the support of the Government is setting the bar high, and recognizes us as a National Sport body.”

A man with his arms around two women in the forefront smiles as a large golden torch lights and fireworks go off in the night sky behind them.

Anna Calleja, National Director of Special Olympics Malta, David Evangelista, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia and Lydia Abela, President of Special Olympics Malta at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games 2022.

Photo by Claire Behan

David Evangelista, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, also underlined how crucial the support of high-level partners was for the country, the region and Special Olympics globally. He said, “The Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games represent a significant milestone for the movement. As the athletes, and the global community, continue to navigate the pandemic, it is the power of partnership that brought forth this remarkable event of unity, peace and inclusion to the world. The deep partnership forged with the national government of the Republic of Malta, SportMalta, the office of Dr. Lydia Abela and many more made possible not only the Games but a lasting, exciting legacy that stands to enrich Malta, Europe and the world through the example set by the athletes of Special Olympics.”

He added, “The movement of Special Olympics is deeply grateful also for the partnership with the Honorable Commissioner Helena Dalli, as well as key movement partners such as Coca Cola Company, Lions Clubs International Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, and many more in making these Games a most memorable and empowering experience at a time when the world needed it most!”

A group of people stand side by side smiling in front of a sign reading ‘The United States of America’ and a man holding a lit torch in the air.

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) to Malta Gwendolyn “Wendy” Green with the United States delegation ahead of the Parade of Athletes at the Special Olympics Malta Invitational Games.

International representatives in Malta also worked to ensure the success of the Games. For U.S. Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) to Malta Gwendolyn “Wendy” Green, it was vital to show her support both before and throughout the event.

CDA Green noted, “These Invitational Games in Malta are highly valued by my U.S. embassy team. We have been working in partnership with Special Olympics Malta and Europe for over two years to support this dream. In the lead up to this effort, we teamed up with Special Olympics Malta to welcome a U.S. Sports Envoy delegation, which included Olympic swimmer Donna de Varona and Alec Heuermann, a U.S. Special Olympics World Games double-silver medalist, to deliver a week-long program packed with swimming clinics and educational presentations to promote inclusion in sports.”

CDA Green added, “This partnership is invaluable in advancing inclusion and diversity. We are thrilled to see Malta hosting this international effort and thrilled to see American athletes traveling all the way from Florida and Texas to participate in it.”

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Megan Rapinoe Explains What Went Wrong For USWNT At Olympics

The United States women’s national soccer team did not perform as advertised in Tokyo.

The Americans struggled out of the gate, dropping their Olympic opener to Sweden in rather stunning fashion. The U.S. still managed to reach the semifinal stage, but its pursuit of a gold medal came to an end Monday with a 1-0 loss to Canada. It marked the Americans’ first loss to their North American neighbor in 20 years.

So, what went wrong for the U.S. at the Games? Longtime team leader Megan Rapinoe put it in rather blunt terms after the loss to Canada.

“If I could just say something, I just think the players have a lot to look at ourselves about,” Rapinoe told reporters, per ESPN. ” It’s not like, ‘Oh, we didn’t play better,’ and getting on each other, but we need to perform better, period. We don’t have juice because the ball’s banging off our shins and we’re not finding open passes and doing the simple things.”

“We can deep-dive into analyzing, and I know we will, but at the end of the day, there’s all the preparation you can do and all the tactics, and then there’s everything else, and that’s what we were missing. You can’t put a name on the ‘everything else,’ but it’s just getting it done from players, from all of us.”

Rapinoe and Co. might not leave Tokyo empty-handed. They’ll battle Australia on Thursday in the bronze-medal match.

Thumbnail photo via
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images