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CNN Speaks To Movement's Founding Family; More Than 7,000 Athletes Taking Part In Largest Ever Games; "Meet The Determined": Athletes On CNN; Avril Lavigne Speaks To CNN; Going Beyond Sports: Looking After Your Health. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired March 17, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:00] PAULIN CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Pauline Chiou, this is CNN NEWS NOW. New Zealand authorities are rushing to

identify the 50 people killed in Friday's terror attacks to allow families to bury their loved ones in accordance with Muslim tradition. The Prime

Minister says all the bodies will be returned by Wednesday.

While the Christchurch community is paying tribute to the victims with memorials and traditional customs like this Maori Haka Dance. Friday's

Massacre has left all of New Zealand in shock.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to wake up and think something like this would happen on your own doorstep, you know let alone just down the road.

It's not something you ever think you have to deal with in New Zealand you know. We're tucked away. We're away from all of this stuff but

unfortunately the reason we gathered here today is because of something evil that has happened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were safe but we're not now. But we need to come together and continue to show our love and support like we are doing now.


CHIOU: Victims of last week's Ethiopian Airlines crash are now being laid to rest. Most of the bodies were incinerated in the crash so it may take

up to half a year to identify the remains. The plane crashed last Sunday killed all 157 people on board.

The British Parliament may not take a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan this week despite her vow to do so. Two top cabinet

ministers say it would be difficult to call another vote if they know lawmakers well reject it again. The Prime Minister says that could mean a

long extension for the Brexit deadline.

And that's your CNN news update. Now it's time for a very special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's a record-breaking Special Olympics right here in Abu Dhabi. 7,500 athletes in town from 200 nations,

one mission going for gold. We're connecting you to it all, athletes, coaches, celebrities, and the people who run the show.

There are as many as 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world goal. The Special Olympics is to reach out to them and

their families. And here's why that matters. For the first time ever on CNN, we can give you some soul-searching new insights from this report that

I'm holding on to you now into how stigma still prevails against people with special needs, much more from that in the hour ahead.

I hope we can help change perceptions this hour. Strap in. Here's a little look at some of the stuff that's going on.

Well, it's pretty fantastic. Hey, let's get into it with some guests that we are very lucky to have. Tim and Maria Shriver, part of the family who

started this whole movement, her excellency Noura Al Kaabi is the UAE's Minister of Culture, and the best duo since bread and butter Micah and

Jonah Hamilton or Hambleton, excuse me chap. So the gold and silver triathlete who are here, welcome to all of you. It's wonderful to have you


I think I'm going to start with the stars if you don't mind, starting with the boys. And we had a little race the other day around -- look at your

smiling already -- around the Formula One track. And as I remember, I think I won right?


ANDERSON: I don't admit it. Let's have a look.


[11:05:18] J. HAMBLETON: Wow, it took forever.


ANDERSON: Wow, it took forever. Thanks for that, Jonah. Listen, in a real triathlon, I would have made up the time with the open swim right, so

I still might have won.


ANDERSON: Listen, you are competing both of you for the UAE team and you were the first to pick up medals, the golden silver in the Special Olympics

Division of the ITU triathlon the other day. How did that feel?


ANDERSON: Yes. You're not much of a talker. I know your brother is a bit -- is a little bit more talker. Go on Jonah, tell me.

J. HAMBLETON: It felt great.

ANDERSON: It's an amazing -- shows us your medals. Come on. Already that's a gold and a silver. So reminders, gold for the triathlon, silver

for --

M. HAMBLETON: Cycling.

ANDERSON: Cycling.

J HAMBLETON: Gold for cycling silver for triathlon.

ANDERSON: I asked you the other day whether you guys compete and you said.

J HAMBLETON: Sometimes, often.

ANDERSON: But you egg each other on, don't you Micah? Yes? They told me they did the other day. I think Micah is getting a little bit shy at this

point but I know he's a bit of a -- he's a bit of a talker when he's on his bike. It's amazing having you guys on. How are you enjoying the Special


M. HAMBLETON: It's fun.


J HAMBLETON: It's good.

ANDERSON: Good, good. Well, listen --


ANDERSON: Well, they're great answers, these guys. Good on you guys and thank you. I mean, I'm so proud of you with the medals. It's amazing.

And the competition, of course, they started in you guys sort of kicked it off with the triathlon, didn't you?



ANDERSON: Amazing. All right, listen, Special Olympics is about so much more than a sporting event. Tim, we've got the story of one little chap

who's come here and he's common awful long way. Viewers, let me introduce you to Malachie.


ANDERSON: Chained up like an animal, abandoned in a dark room. At one of the world's largest refugee camps, this is young Malachie's entire world

for two long years all because of how others saw him, a problem child with a disability. Lost and confused, fleeing violence in his home country,

Malachie lashing out.

MALACHIE, SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETE (through translator): When I was chained up in the house, I use to see people. I would try and run after

them and catch them shouting at them in any language French or English and I know it throw stones at them.

ANDERSON: Desperate and out of options, scared he might get arrested or worse, his mother chaining him up. But then things are changing. The

Special Olympics coming along, helping Malichie unlocking the talent within. His feet free at last he began running, playing football,

practicing endlessly. He was handpicked to come to the world games here in Abu Dhabi.

MALACHIE (through translator): I felt very good when I was chosen to take part in the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi. I thank them for inviting me

and I thank God for inviting me and giving me the grace to come here.

ANDERSON: Now, Malachie, an icon for countless others with intellectual disabilities right around the world. A living proof of what is possible in

life. And so like the biblical book that shares his name Malachie, a messenger.

MALACHIE (through translator): My message to other children like me is that they too can take part in the Special Olympics and be together with

others so that they can feel good just like other children.

ANDERSON: And one that will surely keep on growing.


ANDERSON: Well, in every corner of the earth, Tim, Special Olympics really changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. That is one

such game-changing story. This is so much bigger than just a sporting event isn't it?

SHRIVER: Yes. I mean, I think first of all, it's so moving to watch his story to see the -- to imagine that that kind of human bondage can still

exist in such you know, concrete ways, chains, locks, keys really only because of a difference.

And so it's both shocking when you see the beautiful young man that he has become and that he is in front of all of us, than the sparkling smile, the

sense of triumph as he marched into the stadium here. I mean, it just reminds us that lurking behind so many biases, and so many fears, and so

many ways in which we other people lurk beautiful human beings. And this movement is really designed to enable each of us to play our own small


I think that's what's so powerful about sports. Everyone -- that that refugee camp was changed by someone who said let's run 50 meters. It

didn't take a sophisticated analysis. We didn't need to bring in a business leader. We didn't need to bring in politicians, just a coach.

Let's run. And all of a sudden this child emerges who is just a gorgeous and admirable and you know lovable human -- loving human being.

[11:10:40] ANDERSON: I had to knock around with the ball with him the other day and he's an absolute star. And this football is coming up. By

the way, viewers, there's some training going on here. We've had Syria versus Kuwait football tonight. We've had India-Pakistan, and these guys

are warming up.

So if the ball hits you guys, they're not doing it on purpose, right. It's just a game that's going on. Yes. I had a knock with him the other day.

He's a -- he's a lovely kid and there was a lovely picture do you Instagram of you and him. I think he was getting a medal the other day. Wonderful.

Let's just hear, Maria, if we can just some of what your mother told the opening ceremony of the world games some 50 years ago.


EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER, FOUNDER, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: In ancient Rome, the gladiators went into the arena with these words on their lips. Let me win

but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.


ANDERSON: Let me be brave in the attempt. And that philosophy is important today as it was half a century ago.

MARIA SHRIVER, DAUGHTER OF EUNICE SHRIVER: I think mommy thought all of these athletes and their families were brave people. Brave dealing with

other people's reactions to them, other people's feelings that they couldn't accomplish things. She wanted them to see themselves as brave, as


And she always said that this program was really built by volunteers who believed that all of these athletes could accomplish incredible things and

could show the world just how talented they were. And I think her vision is playing out here.

I mean, we saw this one story of Malachie but you said there's something like 7,500 athletes here. There's a story behind each person here.

There's a story behind each family. There's a story behind each coach, each volunteer, 25,000 volunteers I think here in Abu Dhabi. There's so

much life-changing work going on here as we sit here. It's just so inspiring and it's really the good that we need in the world.

ANDERSON: And 50 years on, the games come to Abu Dhabi, Noura, the first games ever in the Middle East. How important is this event to the UAE to

have guys like this? I mean, these guys now live here so they're representing the UAE team. But athletes from 200 countries around the

world -- and explain how this fits into the sort of wider picture of inclusion if you will in this country.

NOURA AL KAABI, MINISTER OF CULTURE, UAE: I mean, I feel the UAE story is a story of inclusion and there's -- what we met in terms of the parallel

values of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the Founder in Ms. Kennedy Shriver. What happens that those foundation are about inclusion,

are about humanity, and about the responsibility of how can we also offer an opportunity to people with determination.

I believe it's the embodiment of the UAE spirit as the founder's message. I grew up with many nationalities. My teacher wasn't an Emirati, the

doctors weren't Emiratis, the architects, so for us it's something that we live and we breathe. And for it to happen here in the UAE is just an

embodiment of the UAE spirit of inclusion and tolerance.

ANDERSON: We were all at the opening ceremony, the crown prince was there as well. I know we've got some footage of him clapping the athletes in. I

actually marched him with the GB team. I'm British, in case anybody hadn't notice. You guys came in with the UAE team right? How was it?

M. HAMBLETON: It was a blast.

ANDERSON: It was a blast, wasn't it? I mean, you think about it. 7,500 athletes, you are amongst them. Just tell me, how did -- and you say it

was a blast. How did it feel, Jonah? How do you describe it?

J. HAMBLETON: I wasn't thinking about how felt.

ANDERSON: You were just enjoying it, we're you? Just soaking it up, yes? How many UAE athletes are there, by the way?

M. HAMBLETON: No idea.

ANDERSON: Right. I got to -- I should have got this number. Lot.

AL KAABI: It's 399.

M. SHRIVER: (INAUDIBLE) the whole stadium.

[11:15:02] ANDERSON: Yes, just erupted.

M. SHRIVER: (INAUDIBLE) felt that, but it all -- when they came in with that, everybody went wow.

T. SHRIVER: Did you hear the cheers, you guys? Could you hear that?



T. SHRIVER: Yes. Down on the field, I kept hearing -- I heard today from some of the athletes from Italy. And I don't know whether you guys had

this but they were all dancing together. They stop listening to the speeches, thank goodness, because I was giving mine that was too long.

They stop listening, a lot of the athletes did, and everybody was just mingling, and mixing, and having a great time, and you know, just sort of

like you say not thinking about it, but just doing it just like connecting with other people. I don't know if you guys felt that energy but we could

almost sense it from the stands.

ANDERSON: It was -- it was an amazing feeling was it, just being down there? You know that Barack Obama has been tweeting about this. Let me

just read out what he said. Michelle Obama and I are -- wow, there's -- sorry Noura. Throw it back.

Michelle Obama and I are rooting hard for Team USA as these Special Olympics World Games. Get underway this week. Our Special Olympians are

terrific examples of America's heart and drive. You guys of course, grew up in the States so that will -- that will mean something to you as well

won't it? Yes? It's amazing Michelle Obama and Barack Obama cheering you on.

Globally, to both of you, there's so much more work to be done isn't there? I mean, it's wonderful to be here. But you know, all of these games, it

always just feels like it's only the beginning to a certain extent. Just talk as through.

T. SHRIVER: Well, I think -- look, I think we're living in a time when division seems to be the norm. The politicians in so many countries, the

media -- I'm sorry to say in so many countries cover the story of splits and divisions and other ring and hate and they have to I suppose in some

ways. But there's another story going on as Maria said.

This is one event but we do 110,000 Special Olympics games every year. And they're being held all over the world in places like refugee camps, and

cities in the United States, and Great Britain, and all over the world. And there you see a different story emerging.

You see young people who believe that everybody is made to matter. You see young people who are choosing to include rather than exclude. You see

young people trying to build a future that is much more about openness and trust and tolerance than it is about hate and division and anger and

revenge even.

So you know, I think we're here because we're trying to shine a light on something that's happening in everybody's neighborhood. And it's really an

invitation to side with the good. You know, to join hands with building from the bottom up a different message for the world. And you can do it as

simply as kicking a soccer ball onto a CNN set or just kicking a soccer ball in your own neighborhood or running -- you know like these guys are


I mean forget it, no chance for me on that. But I can go out and play soccer or I could maybe ride with you. And when we do that, we make our

own small steps and they're powerful energy fields that I think that make a big difference.

ANDERSON: Your mom and Nelson Mandela knew that sport has the power to change the world. Here as people of determination, as the new sort of buzz

word is these days, people with intellectual disabilities, and people with special needs get an opportunity to be more included in society. That's

about not just sport isn't it? It's about education. It's about the workplace. And that will be part of this legacy, Noura.

AL KAABI: Absolutely. It's the power of unity, Becky. For this game, it's an inclusive game where the importance is how also you shed the light

in terms of perceptions or misperceptions that such people with determinations require assistance in the game or they are supposed to play

with each other.

So when you have such an event with inclusivity -- I played yesterday, a table tennis match, a double table tennis match. I lost. And I would -- I

would -- you know, I don't --

ANDERSON: He's smiling every time he hears somebody has lost.

AL KAABI: And I would -- and I learned -- and I learned that those are athletes and they don't require assistance. So for us, paying with them

did just diminished that misperception that they should also be playing with their own kind. And for us in the UAE, this is also part of the

legacy. So what are we doing in terms of the data and the questionnaires that we're asking to community, to family members, and also to schools.

ANDERSON: I know, Jonah, you said that you know, part of the joy that being involved in the triathlon the other day was just being with elite

athletes right?


ANDERSON: Because you two are elite athletes. I mean, you talked to me about your training schedule recently. It is exhausting what these guys

do. So being included is amazing. Yes. Good on you, guys.

Listen, Tim, I just want our viewers to also hear what you had to say at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque after the massacre in New Zealand.


[11:20:14] T. SHRIVER: We won't be defeated by hate. We will not be defeated by anger. We will not be defeated by division. And if we need

any example for this lesson, we have it in you. The athletes here are people who have come from all over the world with a firm faith in the good

and a firm belief in the power of love.


ANDERSON: Let this be the year of tolerance not just in the UAE but around the world. Guys, thank you so much for the time being. These are the

largest special games ever with athletes flying in from more than 200 nations. More than one in ten are brand new first-timers. Here's a roll

call for you. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm on my way to Abu Dhabi.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where beginning begin!


ANDERSON: And we'll be hearing from athletes from one of the many brand- new places taking part in the games including this one. Can you guess which it is based only on its shape? You're going to find out little


And there's a lot more good stuff to pump through this hour. We're going to take you into the sea with an Olympian who get this, has only been

training for nine months. Connor Conway is right ahead for you. And we hear from the one the only Cafu of why taking part in the Special Olympics

is so important. All that coming up.


[11:25:00] ANDERSON: Well, a rallying cry from some of the most iconic figures in sport along with special athletes. Each routing lines from

Walter D. Wintle's rousing poem The Man Who Thinks He Can. We can, all of us help break the stigma because believe me there is still an awful lot of

work to do.

Now, a major new study shows that while people across the Middle East feel compassion towards people with intellectual disabilities, this doesn't

necessarily translate into action. Across the GCC, more than two-thirds of people asked believe that someone with an intellectual disability should

live a secluded or "special life at home with their families." In Bahrain, almost everyone feels that way.

Well, that's a problem. It puts people behind closed doors. Of course, it's not right. And that's why it takes some good old-fashioned star

wattage to show that there is a better way. Enter a man who has played more World Cups than anyone else, legendary footballer, Cafu.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Neymar is the heart of the Brazilian team.


ANDERSON: Well, that's a great motto isn't it, and one our next guest knows all too well, global megastar Avril Lavigne. We're going to tell you

about her struggles after this short break. Then we'll take you for a spin on the tennis court where the score is always love, love.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't even really look at us as even having a disability or disorder. We're just like everybody else.


ANDERSON: And like everybody else, he's totally in love. We meet a tennis playing dream team.


[11:31:14] CHIOU: Hello, everyone. I'm Pauline Chiou. This is "CNN NEWS NOW". New Zealand's prime minister will meet with her cabinet on Monday to

discuss changes to the country's gun laws.

The prime minister has vowed to make changes after a gunman killed 50 people and wounded 50 others at two mosques during Friday prayers. Coffins

filled only with charred earth were carried through the streets of Addis Ababa to remember the victims of last week's Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Most of the bodies were incinerated in that crash and it may take up to half a year to identify the remains. Last Sunday's disaster killed all 157

people on board. The cause remains under investigation.

At least 50 people are dead in Indonesia after torrential rains triggered flash floods and a mudslide. Officials say more than 45 centimeters of

rain soaked the region in the last three days. Rescue teams are coming through the debris, searching for survivors. But officials fear the death

toll will continue to rise.

And that is your "CNN NEWS NOW". "CONNECT THE WORLD" continues next.


ANDERSON: All the athletes here have earned it. We are down here at the Special Olympics in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, looking at the

celebrations around the Special Olympics and about how we can combat the stigma around intellectual disabilities.

And as part of that, could you compete at the Olympics with just a few months of training? No. Me neither. But this maverick can. Let's meet

16-year-old like a duck to water, Conor Conway


CONOR CONWAY, SWIMMING ATHLETE, SPECIAL OLYMPICS WORLD GAMES: I'm really proud of being an athlete. It feels like being on top of the world,

actually. My dad does help me to get in and out of my suit. It feels like that I'm being squeezed in like a pinprick of a pineapple.

JOHN CONWAY, FATHER OF SPECIAL OLYMPIC ATHLETE, CONOR CONWAY: OK, you could, why don't you zip it up a bit, go.

C. CONWAY: Having a song in your head helps you to take your mind off swimming. Somebody I'll play Somebody Told Me.

It feels like that I'm swimming like Michael Phelps.

DEBBIE, COACH OF CONOR CONWAY: Keep going, Conor. Makes --

C. CONWAY: Debbie's one of my coaches. Debbie tells me of how I can improve my strokes. I've got about five people in my family. Including

myself, my dad, my sister, my brother, and my mom. I eat healthy. Well, my favorite meal is Margarita pizza.


ANDERSON: Nice. With me now, man of the hour, Conor, and his dad, John. And Avril Lavigne, punk-pop princess, and longtime supporter of the games.

Conor, I can't help but notice that since I saw you last, you've had a bit of a fabulous haircut. What's that all about?

C. CONWAY: It's called a high fade.

ANDERSON: Which means what?

[11:35:01] C. CONWAY: It's a new style that I love.

ANDERSON: Oh, I'm obviously not trendy enough that. How important is this new haircut?

J. CONWAY: Like it's really important. It's also a sign of Conor's growing independence.


J. CONWAY: So, we go to the barbers. I have to take a picture that he sends to me. So, he'll look up a haircut he likes on Google, send it to me

on WhatsApp, and I have to show it to the barber. So, he knows exactly what he's got to do with his high fade.

ANDERSON: Know you like listening to music.


ANDERSON: To remind me which is your favorite when you're in the water?

C. CONWAY: Somebody Told Me.

ANDERSON: Somebody Told Me. Apparently, somebody told me you also quite like Avril Lavigne. Is that right?



ANDERSON: Are you going to -- are you going to tell her because she sit next to you.


LAVIGNE: Oh, thank you.

ANDERSON: Are getting a bit shy on us?

LAVIGNE: I'm getting shy.

ANDERSON: Avril, welcome to Abu Dhabi. Just tell us about your involvement.

LAVIGNE: Thank you. My foundation and I have been involved with the Olympics for years now. And it's just really, really inspiring to be

around these athletes. And just happy to be able to lend my voice and take it back and to support the Special Olympics and the athletes.

ANDERSON: It's good to have people like Avril around, isn't it?


ANDERSON: Tell me, how did you do? You've already competed?


ANDERSON: How did you do?

C. CONWAY: I did excellent, but I did my personal best under 30 minutes, and it's been great.

ANDERSON: That's amazing. You got your personal best in under 30 minutes.


ANDERSON: This is 1,500-meter open water?

C. CONWAY: Yes, it is.

ANDERSON: 1,500-meter open water guys. Dad, do you swim?

J.CONWAY: I used to think I could swim, but I gave up trying to keep up with him, where my breasts stroke couldn't gather anymore.

ANDERSON: Yes, amazing.

J.CONWAY: But -- yes.

ANDERSON: I mean, this is -- this has been an incredible for you. You're really enjoying your swimming, aren't you?

C. CONWAY: I am. I'm really am.



ANDERSON: Good. And dad, as it changed his life?

L. CONWAY: I think he's been wonderful.


J. CONWAY: It's not -- it's not just the fitness that he's developed over the last few months, but he's made great friends, he's had access to so

much community support, and I think in terms of his confidence, belief in himself, it's been amazing. He is thinks he's a media celebrity now.

ANDERSON: He is. Look at his face.

J. CONWAY: He's enjoyed that I think more than this -- more than this -- more than the fitness aspect of it.

ANDERSON: Well, you know, you're going to have to keep up the swimming if you want to continue to be a media celebrity.


ANDERSON: You need something to say.

C. CONWAY: I will.

ANDERSON: You need to be successful. You will promise me. Yes.


ANDERSON: Avril, you've been famously suffering from Lyme disease, a condition that in many ways has blighted your -- for your life. But your

message seems to be, "Don't let a diagnosis define you." Right?

LAVIGNE: Yes. I think it's -- that we shouldn't let a diagnosis define us like that's something that -- you know, I went through. And, you know, now

in my life like I move forward and -- ah, there's a ball.

ANDERSON: To remind everybody, there is a warm-up going on. Just after the Syria-Kuwait game. No worries guys. All good. Go on.

LAVIGNE: Yes, it's important for me like I've moved -- I've moved on. That's something that I have overcome, and I just surround myself with

people who support me and put myself around -- you know, people that support me and I think -- you know, it's great. Like with the Special

Olympics being so supportive of their athletes in everything that they do.

ANDERSON: And you said you've been involved now for a long time when this is the first games in the Middle East.


ANDERSON: Conor and dad know just how important that is. And let's be quite clear. You know that the stigma -- we need to break the stigma for

people with intellectual disabilities, not least, in this region.

These are the first games here, and 50 years on from the outset of the -- of the games. What do you hope, Avril, will be achieved here and as a


LAVIGNE: I hope that the stigma is broken and that it doesn't matter everyone has a different situation that they face in life and that

shouldn't like we were just discussing define who you are, we're all equals, and should all support each other -- you know, whether it's like I


Men and women supporting each other. Women supporting each other. And all of us supporting each other.

ANDERSON: It was amazing. I was just thinking when I was in the -- at the opening ceremony. Men and women, girls and boys -- I mean this isn't just

about adults, of course. This is about 16-year-old and younger. And it was wonderful to see the gender balance.

I was probably the most gender-balanced environment. I mean, in for a long time. Talk to me just about health screenings here. And what you've been

through with Conor since he was a little fella.

[11:40:11] J. CONWAY: I will. We -- he kind of grew up in England, and we were very lucky there because the support was available really from day

one. And you know, we were -- we were kept aware of what the physical and the intellectual issues that might pose themselves.

Conor's needed quite a lot of speech therapy when he was very young, and occupational therapy. You know, what comes with Down-syndrome is quite --

you know, there are muscle tone issues that affect speech, fine motor skills aren't strong. So, the occupational therapy and speech therapy

really helped us.

I'm not sure about the availability of those services here. But I think -- you know, you mentioned legacy. And I think one of the most important

things is just simply raising awareness. Because change doesn't happen overnight, change happens over generations and everything that's happened

this week is the real kick start for that, I think. And trying to make sure that, that awareness grows, and it make -- it will make everything

easier going forward from here in this country.

ANDERSON: It does help when people like Avril throw their hat into the ring, doesn't it? And I know, you know, you'll be that the last person to

want celebrity to sort of -- you know, be at the forefront of all of this. But it is important -- you know, throwing your -- throwing your name behind

this is just so powerful.

LAVIGNE: It's great because I'm able to use like my platform and my fan base and my voice. It should to bring awareness to the Special Olympics

and what a great organization it is. You know, I've been able to write songs for the Special Olympics. Shoot music videos and then just -- this

is my second time performing at the opening ceremonies. So, it's -- yes. I got to use my platform which is great and I'm just like so happy and

honored onto be a part of it.

ANDERSON: Well, thank you for being here. This one is absolutely delighted and we're all delighted for you. You've done a superb job. But

this is only just the beginning, right?


ANDERSON: You going to go on swimming.


ANDERSON: And you're going to go and winning those medals.

C. CONWAY: I am, and my aim is to aim for gold.

ANDERSON: The only way is up.

LAVIGNE: I like you.

ANDERSON: Thank you to all of you. What does it take to build an athlete like Conor? Bravery, sure. Skill? Naturally. Hard work? You bet. If

you add all those ingredients up, you can get someone pretty special beyond sports too. We'll going to explain to win by that, up next.



[11:45:07] JUSTIN KAUFLIN, JAZZ PIANIST, VIRGINIA BEACH: When I'm playing, I feel completely free to express myself. Music is something that we can

all relate to. Inclusion is so important because it's empowering. It gives everybody a feeling that not only do they belong, but they can

accomplish things.


ANDERSON: Well, he lost his sight but not his vision. The American jazz pianist and composer Justin Kauflin, showing just what it takes to really

do amazing things.

Well, let's really go beyond sports now and into how it affects people off the field. Do that taking center stage, Dr. Khaled Kadry, who gives

medical checks to athletes and straight from Liberia, athlete Salim and the country's deputy minister of sports Andy Quamie. Thank you all of you for

coming in.

And I want to just take a moment to congratulate you, you have a gold medal. Do you want to show me? That is fantastic. What is this sport?


ANDERSON: For running. Well done, you. One of your great athletes, sir?


ANDERSON: Yes, how many did you -- how many athletes did you bring to the UAE?

QUAMIE: We've got three, actually.

ANDERSON: Three athletes.


ANDERSON: Is this the first time for Liberia?

QUAMIE: Yes, first time for Liberia.

ANDERSON: And this is wonderful viewers because for the first time there are a number of countries competing. Liberia being one of them in this

Special Olympics. Over 200 nations competing here, and three competitors from Liberia, and Salim has got a gold medal. So that's amazing. Well,

worth coming.

QUAMIE: More than worth coming.

ANDERSON: Well, worth coming.

QUAMIE: Yes, put Liberia on the map right now.

ANDERSON: Absolutely, sir.

QUAMIE: I may one of fortunate to even have a live coverage of CNN interview.


QUAMIE: With him, with everybody in Liberia see him on television, it's wonderful.

ANDERSON: Yes. Well, yes, you've got a president, he's a big sports fan, right?

QUAMIE: Yes, he's coming here tomorrow. And (INAUDIBLE) he was invited by the Special Olympics.


QUAMIE: And he will be here tomorrow for the rest of the --


ANDERSON: That's George Weah.

QUAMIE: -- of the event up to the closing, yes.

ANDERSON: That's George Weah, of course. Fantastic Footballer of repute. So, I wanted to talk about athletes like Salim, who get an opportunity here

not only to compete but to get checked out health-wise.


ANDERSON: I mean this is a massive opportunity to see 7-1/2 thousand athletes from -- as I say, 200 nations around the world. Some of whom

won't have add nor full lot of opportunity to get the sort of health expertise you might get in the UAE or the United Kingdom, or the U.S. Just

talk to me through what's on offer here.


because the program that were running is called the Healthy Athletes Program. And it was set out in 1996, and the idea is to try and bridge the

gap between people of determination in terms of their physical health with the general public. And we know that there's some disparity in the health

checks that athletes would get in their -- in their nation.

So, we run disciplines, looking at checking ears, looking at eyes, and dental screens, looking at nutrition and fitness and looking at heap. And

very recently, is the strong minds discipline that was introduced for the first time on the global arena this year in Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: Which means what?

KADRY: So, the strong mind, so I've recently been appointed as the clinical advisor for strong minds. And the idea is to try and give

athletes tips and tricks really to manage stress in relation to either competing in the -- in the world games. Or transferable skills that they

can use in their day-to-day lives. So, they would walk through, they will learn very practical skills that they can use in their day today.

ANDERSON: I know. I was around yesterday, and it's from using stress balls when you get stressed.


ANDERSON: I'm sure, Salim get stressed at times due to doing Pilates.


ANDERSON: For example, as a sort of -- you know, it's a sort of that well- being exercise. I also know and I do hope we've got some video of this. The sort of health screenings that you can do here, can often be life-

changing. There was one little ad here yesterday, who was having some hearing aids fitted.


ANDERSON: And let me just -- I think we've got that video. If we can just roll that video. And I think that video is up as we speak. I mean there's

a wonderful moment when this little fella put to hearing aids in. And suddenly, he could clearly hear better than he had before.


He was just hugging his -- hugging his friend, he was also an athlete. I mean, you must view this for in time and again.

KADRY: It was -- it was -- yes. It was quite an emotional moment for our colleagues in the -- in the hearing screens. And I think, reduced everyone

to tears, the athletes, the coaches, the volunteers, and the clinical directors. It was really -- as you say, a life-changing moment.

And certainly, all the disciplines, the things we uncovered, we've uncovered actually coaches who might have saved their feet because they

have diabetic feet. And so, it's a -- it's a real opportunity for the host nation to screen the athletes and coaches and carriers coming into the


[11:50:30] ANDERSON: Andy, you said when we started that this is -- you know, this is putting Liberia on the map. What a wonderful opportunity,

this being the Special Olympics, to be so proud about putting the country on the map.

QUAMIE: Well, like I said, after our present president-ambassador George Weah, who won the world best in 1995. Liberia have erased from the map

regarding sports.

For Salim to come here for fascination, Liberia to win the gold, we are extremely happy. I'm not sure Liberia had gone to the Olympic before to

win any medal, but this time is our first and he has come out to win the gold.

ANDERSON: That is amazing. Well, put it there Salim. You're the first for Liberia to win a gold medal. And this is the Special Olympics. We are

so proud of you, mate. Well done.

ASSAF: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Congratulations. Thank you all. Let's take a dip with someone who fled a country not new but war-ravaged. Nina Al Jundi who left Syria

to make it here to the Special Olympics. Have a look at this.


NINA AL JUNDI, ATHLETE, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: If I get a gold medal, I will be happy, super happy. I feel good from swimming. For Olympics, I went to

many places. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Athens, Damascus.

I remember from Syria, my coach, friends, my center, I need to go back.


In Syria, people used to -- for example, when we go to a restaurant or a place -- public place, people used to look at her because she's different,

of course.

N. AL JUNDI: I feel happy I am traveling.


ANDERSON: Well, the games are now on. We are here at the Special Olympics. Just ahead, viewers.


RYAN SMITH, ATHLETE, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: We don't even really look at us as even having a disability or disorder. We're just like everybody else.


ANDERSON: Amen. What's harder than competing at the Olympics? Planning a wedding maybe. We're going to meet Ryan and Brittany, who are doing both.




[11:55:35] SMITH: I never really thought I would actually meet somebody like her.

BRITTANY TAGLIARENI, ATHLETE, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: I met him through the Special Olympics state games.

SMITH: She had her head down, very shy and things just kind of blossomed from there.

TAGLIARENI: I like playing mixed doubles with him and getting married to him would be a dream come true. I want to help other people like achieve

their goals that has autism like me.

SMITH: We don't even really look at us as even having a disability or disorder. We're just like everybody else.

We're so excited, can't wait. We are going to Abu Dhabi.

TAGLIARENI: We are going to Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: Well, even with stories like Ryan and Brittany's brand-new information right here on CNN, showing that in parts of this region, as few

as one in three people think that people with intellectual disabilities should be allowed to get married and have kids. This has all got to


All you need is a little love and the dream. And the infrastructure and support behind you. And while people with special disabilities are

changing hearts and minds in the United Arab Emirates, we can all, all of us do our bit wherever we are in the world to help raise global awareness

about the importance of inclusion and tolerance for people of determination. Here's a message from the athletes. Three, two, one. Be



ANDERSON: Three, two, one. Be unified! It's a very good evening from the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi. Be unified!