Two months ago, Special Olympics held the largest sports and humanitarian event of 2019, the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Before the competition opened and the Games began, over 100 law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes, the Guardians of the Flame, carried the Flame of Hope, throughout all seven of the United Arab Emirates before safely delivering it to the Opening Ceremony in Abu Dhabi. One of those runners was Sherrie Eadie, a Special Olympics athlete from New South Wales, Australia. She was one of ten Special Olympics athletes who were selected to run alongside law enforcement.
This was Sherrie’s first time attending a World Games and participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics. Before coming to Abu Dhabi, she trained for eight months to prepare for running the Final Leg. Law Enforcement Torch Runs happen all around the world locally, regionally, and nationally, and they showcase inclusion at its finest. Officers and athletes come together to spread excitement, fundraise, and raise awareness about Special Olympics, and by doing so, especially on a world level, they show the world that they practice what they preach. In fact, Sherrie said, “I had never knew or heard the word inclusion until I had been part of the Final Leg.”
Her favorite part of the Final Leg was meeting her team and running with the torch. Her favorite place? The Dubai Miracle Garden. While running the Final Leg, she had many opportunities to talk about Special Olympics publicly, and those were usually her favorite events. While in Dubai, Sherrie and other members of the Final Leg went to Arabian Radio Network studios where they were interviewed by Virgin Radio, Dubai Eye, Dubai 92, City 1016, and Al Arabiya. Through this experience, she learned that she enjoys public speaking, and she wants “to get more involved with the LETR and Special Olympics by doing more public speaking.” She even hopes to write a book about her experience.
Sherrie “was inspired by all the smiles on the athletes’ faces” during the Final Leg,” and she felt included. Her message to other athletes is to “get involved [in LETR]! The police officers are amazing and inspiring. Do torch runs! It’s a wonderful feeling.”