U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Athletes Practice Inclusiveness
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U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Athletes Practice Inclusiveness

November 29, 2019

[TEXT: #USinRio
I am more than my race] [TEXT: I am more than my disability] [TEXT: I am more than my gender] [TEXT: I am more than my religion] [TEXT: I am an athlete] [Ibtihaj Muhammad] Sports is such a great tool to really create
strong women. [TEXT: Ibtihaj Muhammad, Team USA Fencing]
I remember moments where there were people who told me
I didn’t belong in my sport because I was black or I didn’t belong
because I was Muslim. And I know exactly what adversity feels like, and sports has taught
me to be confident and to believe in myself. [Tamika Catchings] Well, I grew up with a hearing problem and I had
to wear a hearing aid and [TEXT: Tamika Catchings, Team USA Basketball]
still wear hearing aids and had a speech problem. So for me like growing up it was a little tough. You know at first I
didn’t accept my differences and I looked at it as being something
that like I was ashamed of. And it really wasn’t until my freshman year in college when Pat
Summitt sat me down and was just like, look, you have an opportunity
to make a difference in the world. A lot of young people that are going to go through the same thing
that you’ve gone through, and your story will inspire them to overcome, and to not look at
their hearing disability as a disability, but yet it could be
something that could help elevate them. [TEXT: Brad Snyder, U.S. Paralympics Swimming] You know, when I
people don’t see me as a blind person struggling with something,
they see me succeeding. They see me doing something I’m good at. I am just so thankful that
I was able to show people what a blind guy can look like. Instead of someone struggling with something,
they see someone succeeding. [TEXT: Greg Louganis, Four Time U.S. Olympic Diving Champion]
When you talk to the athletes, sexual identity — they don’t care. And it doesn’t matter what country they’re from, it’s a part of the
human race. It’s not any one country against another country, it’s just a
competition. [Brad Snyder] It takes sportsmanship to a whole nother level when I
have such utmost respect for athletes from different countries who
I’m competing against. You know, I’m rooting for them just as much as I’m rooting for
myself. [Lex Gillette] Everything that has ever been created and
everything that will be created always starts with a vision. [TEXT: Lex Gillette, U.S. Paralympics Track & Field]
It starts inside your mind, your heart, your soul. [Ibtihaj Muhammad]
I would tell youth around the world to not allow other people’s
misconceptions about your race, your gender, your ethnicity to
define them and to dictate their path in life. And they can do whatever it is
that they set their mind to. [TEXT: Follow @TeamUSA teamusa.org
#USinRIO] [TEXT: Select photos © AP Images
Produced by the U.S. Department of State]

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