Lions punter Sam Martin and his girlfriend, former Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin, enjoyed volunteering at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
1:00 AM ET
Sam Martin stepped up to the podium in Abu Dhabi, ribbon in hand. In front of him, the athletes were there, waiting. They had come from all over the world to compete in gymnastics. The Detroit Lions punter, halfway across the world watching athletes who were mostly unfamiliar with the sport he plays, was about to give them their awards.
It sounds like a small thing. It was anything but. It turned into something that’s going to stick with Martin forever.
Martin walked up to the first girl, a competitor from El Salvador, and gave her the eighth-place ribbon for her work on the floor exercise.
She didn’t win. It didn’t matter. With the Special Olympics, it is as much about the journey as the result.
“You could just tell how happy and proud she was,” Martin said. “That, for sure, is something that — and I was lucky enough to put a few ribbons around her neck, and she was just the cutest little girl, and she was just so happy