Supreme Knight Carl Anderson led the Knights of Columbus in hosting the 2017 Special Olympics Unified Football (Soccer) Tournament in Rome, Oct. 11-15. Held at the Knights of Columbus Pius XI Athletic Center, the Order’s premier sports center overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica, the event brought together 200 Special Olympics athletes to further support, respect and dignity for all.
Supreme Knight Anderson joined Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver at the “Let’s Change the Game” forum, which was attended by more than 400 athletes, family members, school representatives, volunteers and team managers. At the forum, participants discussed the value of having athletes with and without intellectual disabilities participate together in unified sports.
Nine countries took part in the tournament, namely, Lithuania, France, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Romania and Italy. On the first day of the tournament, Pope Francis received Special Olympics athletes and officials in a private audience at the Vatican.
“In these days you will have the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of ‘unified’ sport,’” said the Holy Father. “This beautiful reality, which you carry out with commitment and conviction, nourishes the hope of a positive and fruitful future of sport, because it makes it a real opportunity for inclusion and involvement.”
Following the games, Supreme Knight Anderson joined in congratulating the athletes and presenting medals at the awards ceremony.