Special Olympics

Negandhi has “dream” night at “White House’s Special Olympics Celebration for A Unified Generation”

SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi was one of the invited guests representing ESPN at a “Special Olympics Celebration for A Unified Generation” held last night at the White House. The event included remarks by President Obama and a performance by Katy Perry. Other ESPNers in attendance included: Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Christine Driessen; Vice President, Global Corporate Outreach, Kevin Martinez; Senior Vice President, Human Resources, ESPN; Chief Diversity Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Paul Richardson;
Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International, Russell Wolff; and Director, Corporate Outreach, Angela Woods.

ESPN is a global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports. As part of this collaboration, which expands on ESPN and Disney’s 30-year commitment to Special Olympics, ESPN supports Special Olympics’ goal of registering one million Unified Sports participants, including athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities), teammates (individuals without intellectual disabilities) and coaches, by 2015.

“It was an incredible night,” Negandhi told Front Row. “I woke up thinking ‘was I dreaming?’

“The experience was everything I could’ve imagined and more,” Negandhi said. “You could see the pure joy in the faces of the athletes and their parents. A leadership group spoke before Katy sang and each person had a unique story and explained how they went through bullying and misunderstanding. After everything they went through, their message was ‘we are here and we are ambassadors for Special Olympics’. It was so powerful.”

Negandhi, one of ESPN’s Special Olympics Unified Sports Ambassadors, also recently served as emcee of the Closing Ceremony of the 2014 Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games Invitational in Los Angeles, site of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games (LA2015), which ESPN will broadcast.

“We’re less than a year away from the 2015 World Games and last night was the perfect spring board for awareness, celebration and education about Special Olympics through Unified Sports,” Negandhi said.

“This was a night to celebrate the athletes for what they have been through and what they will accomplish in the future, and to educate and break down barriers,” he said. “It was a night that showed the connection sports can provide for us all.”

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