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“That they did this for a group of people they had only met the day before showed me that they are the genuine article.”

BEHIND THE STORYTELLING: ESPN producer Andrew Keck reflects on profiling Special Olympics athlete Robert Moore, bonding with the equestrian and his family

EDITOR’S NOTE: ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi began today (11 a.m. ET) with a three-hour ESPNEWS special featuring the Opening Ceremony, part of more than 175 hours of live coverage. This week in Front Row’s “Behind The Storytelling” series, ESPN producers share their perspectives on profiling Special Olympics athletes for feature segments that will be seen throughout the coverage. Today, Andrew Keck explains how Florida equestrian Robert Moore and the athlete’s family affected him.

Robert’s story is the fourth Special Olympics feature I’ve produced since last August. While I have had the pleasure of meeting some great people these past seven months, getting to meet Robert’s family and getting a first-hand view of the support Robert has received in his life absolutely touched me. After filming two days of Robert competing, my crew and I followed Robert and his parents to their home to get some b-roll of Robert’s history and home life.

What we didn’t know when we got to the house was that the Arroyos – Robert’s parents – had prepared a dinner for me and my crew. Once we got the footage we needed, we sat down with Robert and his parents and they made us feel just like we were also part of their family. That they did this for a group of people they had only met the day before showed me that they are the genuine article. Their hospitality is something I’ll never forget.

Here’s something that did not make the feature: Robert’s father, Roberto, played a very integral part in Robert’s development. We touch on it quickly in the feature, but Roberto has a background as a former boxer, swimmer and baseball player. Roberto and Jacqueline are originally from Puerto Rico, where Roberto played baseball professionally, then they moved to the United States so Roberto could play for a baseball team in the Cape Cod League. All of Roberto’s background in his various sports gave him some physical therapy knowledge that he utilized to help Robert gain strength and development in his legs and hands as a child.

Visit ESPN.com’s Special Olympics Index Page for event coverage, schedules, features and more.

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