The WWE announced the launch of an international partnership with the Special Olympics during “Monday Night Raw,” with the help of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston sitting ringside during the show.
WWE Superstars will participate in Play Unified events with Special Olympics athletes from around the world, including China, India, Mexico, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., and WWE will generate awareness through its television broadcasts, live events and digital and social media.
Earlier in the day, several Special Olympics athletes visited the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, getting both wrestling and dance lessons from Superstars and Divas such as Mojo Rawley (pictured above), Big Show and Cesaro.
“WWE is proud to expand our support of Special Olympics globally and help spread the message of acceptance and inclusion to people all around the world,” Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer, said in a statement. “The heart, passion, and dedication of Special Olympics athletes has served as inspiration to all of our Superstars, and we are certain that anyone who has the honor of joining these athletes in competition will walk away focused on helping us build a unified generation.”
“Special Olympics and WWE have an authentic, shared value of creating understanding and inclusion and celebrating diversity. We are thrilled that WWE is joining us in Playing and Living Unified,” Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis continued.
“When an influential entity, like WWE, publicly demonstrates their support for Special Olympics and marshals its support around us, that’s an incredibly validating signal to our 4.5 million Special Olympics athletes that says ‘you count, you’re not invisible, your life matters,’” she added.
The WWE’s partnership with Special Olympics dates back to the 1995 World Games in New Haven, Connecticut, and more recently included involvement at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles last summer.
See the videos above and below from the WWE Performance Center visit.