Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1392, (3 - 9 May 2018)
Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Issue 1392, (3 - 9 May 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Major muscles

In Jeddah, WWE superstars enjoyed the company of athletes from the Special Olympics, reports Abeer Anwar


WWE Wrestlers with Special Olympics athletes in Jeddah
WWE Wrestlers with Special Olympics athletes in Jeddah

During their World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tour in Jeddah, Special Olympics athletes from Saudi Arabia met and took photos with WWE superstars while holding a Special Olympics-branded ball.

The visit took place alongside the Greatest Royal Rumble last week in Jeddah. The first televised WWE event in the region was a huge success, with 60,000 delighted fans cheering their heroes at the King Abdullah Stadium on Friday 27 April. In another landmark moment for Saudi Arabia, women were free to attend the show.

WWE pulled all the stops to ensure the success of its Greatest Royal Rumble, with all seven men’s titles on the line. This was the first WWE event with a 50-man “Royal Rumble” match rather than the traditional 30.

WWE stars showed their strong support for the Special Olympics movement and athletes who were invited to attend the WWE show. SO Middle East and North Africa region President and Regional Director Ayman Abdel-Wahab was “very thankful and excited” with the idea and seized the opportunity to encourage people everywhere to help create more unified communities around the world.

WWE’s partnership with Special Olympics dates back to the 1995 World Games in New Haven, and more recently has included partnerships with the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, and an on-going corporate partnership with Special Olympics Connecticut.

The partnership between Special Olympics and WWE began in earnest in 2013 when the latter became a founding partner of the 2014 Special Olympics Games and will further expand their reach to spread awareness, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport, and showcase the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Bobby Lashley and Apollo Crews played a friendly game of soccer with Special Olympics Saudi Arabia athletes at the Together Centre in Jeddah. The young athletes had fun with the big stars dancing to folkloric music together and comparing their muscles to the superstars.

Special Olympics and WWE announced an international partnership to help create change through sports. Through this new partnership, WWE will support Special Olympics’ Play Unified campaign, which fosters friendship, understanding and inclusive communities among people with and without intellectual disabilities by uniting them through the power and joy of sports.

WWE superstars will participate in Play Unified events with Special Olympics athletes from around the world, including China, India, Mexico, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. WWE will utilise its global platforms including WWE Network, television broadcasts, live events and digital and social media to generate awareness and support for Special Olympics.

“Special Olympics and WWE have an authentic, shared value of creating understanding and inclusion and celebrating diversity. We are thrilled that WWE is joining us in Playing and Living Unified,” said Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis. Davis added, “when an influential entity like WWE publicly demonstrates their support for Special Olympics and marshals its support around us, that’s an incredibly validating signal to our 4.5 million Special Olympics athletes that says ‘you count, you’re not invisible, your life matters.’”

“WWE is proud to expand our support of Special Olympics globally and help spread the message of acceptance and inclusion to people all around the world,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE chief brand officer. “The heart, passion and dedication of Special Olympics athletes has served as inspiration to all of our superstars, and we are certain that anyone who has the honour of joining these athletes in competition will walk away focused on helping us build a unified generation.”

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