Throughout this week on ESPN, more than 6,500 courageous athletes from 165 countries are competing and celebrating their talents at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. Front Row sat down with ESPN’s Facilities and Development Planning intern, who had the opportunity to fly from Connecticut to Los Angeles to volunteer at this life-changing event.
Raven Davis, senior at Louisiana State University majoring in Kinesiology – Sports Management/Administration
What was the most rewarding part about volunteering at the Special Olympics World Games?
Seeing how happy and proud the athletes were every day. When I would walk around the USC campus, the athletes would be exchanging pins that they received from different countries, hugging people and giving everyone a high five. The atmosphere was just lively and filled with so much positivity.
Has traveling to Los Angeles to volunteer at the Special Olympic World Games been one of the best parts about your internship experience?
I have had a lot of memories since I have started this internship but I think that the best part has been attending the Special Olympics. My experience at the Games from the start until I left was very positive, inspirational and a life lesson that it’s never too late to start your dream no matter how old you are.
How excited were the athletes during the Opening Ceremony?
All of the athletes, coaches and fans were having the best time. We were all dancing, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company. The best part about competition was that they were not nervous or stressing to win. They wanted to go out there every day and achieve their best and have fun with their teammates and coaches.
Are there any particular moments that you’ll always remember from your experience at the Special Olympic World Games?
I have multiple moments that I will always remember. Sunday I was able to attend the swimming and diving competition and every single athlete that finished their event walked out with a smile on their face and just pure happiness that they were able to compete. But I think the best memory I have is when I first arrived at my hotel a couple of days before the opening ceremonies. The athletes were coming up to everyone giving them high fives, hugging us and asking us about our day.