Special Olympics


'Brings us all together': Bozeman Gallatin's Clark family competing together in unified sports

Jack and Grant Clark
Posted at 1:47 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 15:47:07-04

BOZEMAN — Unified track is a family affair for the Clarks. Kristin Clark coaches her two sons, Grant and Jack, who are part of the Bozeman Gallatin Raptors team.

The brothers' competitive spirit is high, which carries into the races, but, most importantly, the sport has brought the family even closer together.

"Special Olympics is the thing that kind of brings us all together," Kristin explained. "A big theme in our family is inclusion, and we want to promote it as much as we can in every area of our lives, and I feel like Special Olympics has been one of the main ways we’ve been able to do that."

Two unified athletes pair with two Special Olympics athletes for the 1,600-meter relay at each meet for the Raptors. That’s one of the main events where Jack and Grant are able to work together and compete.

"We, the unified athletes, are just there to carry the race forward," Grant explained. "The glory is all about our Special Olympics athletes. We usually have one anchoring, so they can cross the finish line. The crowd goes crazy, it’s so fun."

"My favorite part of track is that I just keep running and keep racing," Jack said. "I do what my brother tells me to do and keep running faster, faster every time."

Grant has been part of unified sports for the past six years to spend time and compete with Jack. He enjoys it and has gotten his friends involved in the organization as well.

"He chooses to do it because he knows the power that it has," Kristin said. "And how he has grown, I guess. He knows how he has grown. He knows how he’s spread it to other people. He knows how cool it is."

"My brother is a great racer, and he’s a great runner," Jack said. "He gets to race on with me, and every time we just grab it, and me, I just keep running."

As for Jack, Kristin has seen him grow as a person, athlete and teammate. The inclusivity of unified sports is what means most to her and her family.

"He has grown just leaps and bounds," Kristin said. "It’s like, all he wants to do is be included. He wants to be one of the gang, he wants to be a part of the crowd, and unified sports has allowed him to do that."