Before he departed Barbados for the Los Angeles 2015 Special Olympics World Games, Tyson Browne was asked what he hoped to do at the international competition involving 7,000 intellectually disabled athletes from 177 countries. His response was, “I would love to win my races.” He did just that and much more by winning three gold medals and the adoration of millions of people.
The day the 27 year old St. Michael resident won his first gold medal in the 400 metre run, Browne walked to the starting blocks, turned to the stands in Loker Stadium on the University of Southern California campus and did a little dance to let the crowd know he was ready to run and run fast. When he completed the run, he danced again, in victory, with his hands high above his head.
A young woman, who was the delegation liaison representative for the Barbados contingent to the Special Olympics World Games, captured the image and uploaded it to the social media site Snap Chat. By the time the Barbados delegation left Los Angeles at the end of the World Games, the posting of Tyson Browne has received more than 5 million hits.
That was not his last victory dance, because Browne went on to win the gold medal in his 800 metre division and captured yet another gold as a member of the 4x100 relay team, where he was joined by Korey Kellman, Akintunde Hall and Raymond Delphi. Browne became somewhat of a celebrity at the World Games, and the more medals he won, the more his popularity grew. His personality and warm smile brought him hugs and high-fives of congratulations wherever he went as total strangers asked him to pose in cell phone self-portraits with them.
Tyson Browne and his fellow Barbados athletes made a wonderful impression at the Special Olympics World Games. It was surprising to learn that many who attended the Games had no idea where Barbados was located, but they also wanted to know more about the small Caribbean island which had produced so many gifted athletes, and the Barbados team members became unofficial ambassadors as they shared their culture and their love of country.
The Barbados team of 26 intellectually disabled athletes and 2 unified partners, who are participants who do not have disabilities, won 8 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals at the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015. When all of the total medals won in team sports such as football and relays are added, the result is 36 medals won by the Barbados team. The athletes also came home with a number of ribbons for their performances, and each athlete returned to Barbados with, at least, a 4th place ribbon.
The experiences of Tyson Browne at the Special Olympics World Games do not stand alone, because each athlete who participated in the event has his or her own story of accomplishment, whether or not they left the Games with medals.  Athletes from all around the world departed Los Angeles feeling better about themselves and inspired by the love and acceptance they felt everywhere they turned, and they gained a deeper understanding of their Athlete Oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
*Photo caption: Barbados athlete Tyson Browne performs his victory dance after winning gold in the 400 metre run at the 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games.”

Special Olympics Barbados, Arbor House, #23 James Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, (246) 426 9064
Facebook: Special Olympics Barbados