CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the first time the Special Olympics USA games will be holding unified interscholastic track and field competitions at the 2022 games next June in Orlando, merging athletes with and without intellectual dissabilities. Special Olympics North Carolina will be represented by the unified track and field team at Green Hope High School.
"It's really exciting," said Laura Grady. "When they called I couldn't believe that they asked us and I'm pretty honored."
Grady is one of two coaches on the Green Hoped unified track and field team that started about three years ago, and now she'll be coaching on a national stage as her team represents North Carolina at the 2022 games.
"It's really cool," she said. "I'm really excited to show them the whole Special Olympics organization and how much bigger it is than just Wake County."
"I think it's such a great opportunity," said Green Hope junior Kendall Fowler. "It's so amazing that this is available to these students and I'm just excited to help them with their goals and to compete."
Only about 75 athletes and unified partners from all across the state were selected to represent North Carolina in Orlando. The Green Hope unified track team is made up of four athletes and four unified partners. One of the goals of the team is to connect those with and without dissabilites.
"I think this whole opportunity is really great for them," said Fowler. "I thought, 'I play sports and I like interacting with people,' and I thought, 'Hey, I think I would be a good fit for this team,' and that I could rally help and always talking to new people is such a great opportunity because you get to learn what they go through, how they're feeling about it."
"It shows how much we value inclusion and including all types of athletes in one team together," Grady said.