Drew McIntyre is the newest champion ambassador for Special Olympics.
“This is an immense honor,” McIntyre says. “I am extremely proud to represent Special Olympics as a champion ambassador, and it is a role I intend to take very seriously. I want to set a great example, and I also look forward to continuing to learn from the Special Olympics athletes, who inspire me with such hard work and dedication.”
In the days leading up to SummerSlam in Las Vegas, Special Olympics Nevada held its unified bocce tournament with WWE and the Raiders. McIntyre learned of his new role when the Special Olympics athletes surprised him during a presentation during the event.
“The athletes genuinely caught me off guard,” McIntyre says. “I had to hold back the tears. It was emotional because this was the first time so many of the athletes had been together with all the restrictions from the pandemic. Even though I was getting my butt kicked in bocce ball, this meant a lot to me, especially since it happened in person.”
McIntyre helped carry WWE over the past year, putting forth a remarkable effort in keeping people connected to the product throughout the pandemic era of closed-arena shows. His role behind the scenes was also pivotal, and opportunities like this are a reflection of his dedication to the company. One of his recent projects in collaboration with Special Olympics was teaming up with athletes to create the School of Strength: Class Is Now in Session online workout program.
“It’s a great way to stay in shape,” McIntyre says. “And I know I’m supposed to be the leader here, but I’m learning from the athletes. The positivity and enthusiasm has changed my life.
“I grew up wanting to be WWE champion. That was always my dream. It’s pretty cool that has put me in a position where I can be a voice and source of strength for such hard-working people in Special Olympics. Getting this chance, it’s my favorite part of being part of WWE.”
Coming off a SummerSlam victory against Jinder Mahal, McIntyre is now seeking to find his way back in the main event picture. Due to the current story line, he can no longer challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE title, which opens a new title route if he moves to SmackDown and challenges Roman Reigns.
“I had an opportunity to help cement Bobby as champion, and to do that for a top-level performer was an honor,” McIntyre says. “I’m extremely happy for him, he’s someone that earned and deserves all his success.
“SummerSlam was a tough spot, coming out right after Becky’s return, but it was an opportunity to make a statement against Jinder. We were able to have that moment in front of so many people, which was an honor, and now I’m excited to see what comes next. It was cool on Raw to be involved with Damian Priest, Lashley and Sheamus, who are three highly physical athletes. I want to set the tone for physicality in WWE, and I’m excited for the next story. That’s what people feel and touches emotions. I’m looking for something good, and if it’s Roman, I hope he’s ready.”
With an upcoming WWE draft looming, the idea of continuing his program against Reigns—which we last saw in November in a one-week build to Survivor Series after he defeated Randy Orton to become a two-time champ—is one that particularly resonates with McIntyre.
“That’s something I would love to sink my teeth into, and it’s something, inevitably, that will happen,” he says. “We had less than a week together last year, but the chemistry, even without fans in the stands, that was real. Roman is my biggest feud since I returned to WWE, and I feel like I’ve had more matches with him than anybody, but it feels different now. The roles have completely switched, and you’re seeing who we are as real people. There is something big down the line for us down.”
Full of optimism for his future, McIntyre is also eager to make an impact with Special Olympics.
“I encourage people to lend a hand in their local communities with Special Olympics,” he says. “It’s an incredible time, and you leave feeling truly inspired. For me, it’s put me on cloud nine.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached atJBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.