PHOENIX - The Special Olympics Arizona teams are once again making us proud as the flag football team is bringing home the gold medal after competing in Orlando, Florida for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.
These athletes have been over the moon since they returned home from the games. They've worked hard for a year and that hard work played off.
Izzy Alvarado is reliving the special moments that earned him the gold medal that he now proudly wears around his neck.
"It feels awesome. Tears of joy. It was awesome we all stuck up for each other," Alvarado says.
They competed against teams from all over the country.
"To have that moment, to be on the stage with the team, just to reflect on the hard work and all the things we have done was something special," says coach Luke Parker.
It wasn't an easy win. It came down to a tie-breaker and the team that scored the most points won.
That so happened to be Arizona.
"I was shocked because we lost two games and I thought we weren't going to win the gold and silver at first," Alvarado said. "High pressure. It was win or lose. We were just trying to win."
It was not only about bringing home a medal and standing on the podium. For this team, they say it was more important to build a family together and that is exactly what they did.
"I felt like our connection grew with our whole time and our relationship grew, and we got to know each other better and better," Alvarado said.
"Going through the experience – wins, losses, laughing, crying together – was really what it was all about," Parker said.
Altogether, the state of Arizona walked away with 42 medals.