The power of inclusion through sport was especially strong on the final day of the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 presented by Toyota that was held on 6 August at Keyworth Stadium. A celebrity 7-aside match and live streaming by ESPN all added to the excitement leading up the women’s and men’s Division 1 final matches.
On the women’s side, even though Special Olympics USA’s Coree Benesch (Unified partner) scored the first goal of the match in the 8th minute, Special Olympics Guatemala emerged victorious with a decisive 5-1 win. Daroulin Avila Lopez, athlete from Guatemala equalized in the 15th minute followed by goals from teammates Daniela Madrid Chinchilla (athlete), Adelyn Mayorga Ralda (athlete), Adriana Ramírez Monzón (athlete) and Allison Chávez Monroy (athlete).
The men’s Division 1 final was equally as thrilling. Special Olympics Jamaica took an early lead against Special Olympics Paraguay with a goal from Unified partner Ellis Guscott in the 10th minute. Ontwain Mitchell follow up with a goal in the second half. The win, captured by an undefeated team that conceded no goals, was made even more special as it fell on the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence.
Additionally, a number of additional Special Olympics athletes were honored for their performance during the Unified Cup:
The Golden Boot award is presented to the player scoring the most goals during the tournament. The Women’s winner of the Golden Boot award was given to Adriana Ramírez Monzónd from Special Olympics Guatemala, who made 12 goals, and the Men’s winner of the Golden Boot was awarded to Special Olympics Jamaica Unified partner Dillion Richards with sevengoals.
The Most Unified Team award is given to the team that best exemplifies the principles of meaningful involvement and inclusion on and off the field of play. The Women’s Most Unified Team award goes to Special Olympics Costa Rica, and the Men’s Most Unified Team award goes to Special Olympics Singapore.
The Fair Play Team award is presented to the team that has demonstrated exemplary behavior, including playing by the rules and respecting teammates, opponents, match officials, and fans. The Women’s Fair Play Team award goes to Special Olympics Serendib (Sri Lanka), and the Men’s Fair Play Team award goes to Special Olympics Korea, both had no fouls or penalty cards throughout the tournament.
The Golden Glove award is given to the best goalkeeper of the Unified Cup. The Women’s Golden Glove award goes to Special Olympics USA’s Radoslava Papadopoulous, with 17 saves and only four goals conceded. The Men’s Golden Glove award goes to Special Olympics Jamaica’s Omarion Brown, with 17 saves and zero goals scored against him.
The Unified Cup drew approximately 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers and 500 family members and dignitaries with the common mission of celebrating the joy of sport and the power of inclusion through camaraderie, competition and breaking down social barriers.