X Games and Special Olympics Athletes Announced for 5th Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Event

X Games

X Games and Special Olympics Athletes Announced for 5th Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Event

Ten Special Olympics Athletes Paired with X Games Teammates for Live Streamed Unified Snowboard Race at X Games Aspen 2019

WHAT:             In 2019, Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding will return for its fifth year at X Games Aspen. Teams will be comprised of one professional action sports athlete, including X Games and Olympic medalists, and one Special Olympics action sports athlete for a total of ten, two-person teams. Each of the team members will take one run on each of the two competition courses, with the professional athletes racing against one another and the Special Olympics athletes racing one another. The combined best times of each team will determine the results.

 

Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. ESPN is the global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports.

 

WHEN:             Thursday, January 24 at 11 a.m. MT

 

WHERE:          The Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding course is located above the start of the Big Air course at X Games Aspen (Buttermilk Mountain).

 

WATCH:           The event will be streamed live on @XGames Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

 

WHO:               Ten Special Olympics athletes and eight of the world’s top action sports athletes.

 

Confirmed Special Olympics and professional action sports athletes include:

 

Henry Meece (Portland, Oregon) Chris Klug (Aspen, Colo.)
·        Placed first in Unified Dual Slalom at X Games Aspen four times

·        Represented USA at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria

·        Started off as a skier before transitioning to snowboarding

·        After receiving a liver transplant in 2000, he went on to compete in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games and win a bronze medal in Parallel Giant Slalom

·        Won a bronze medal and lit the torch at the 2002 National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games

·        Took gold last year in Unified Dual Slalom in addition to 2016

 

Daina Shilts (Neillsville, Wisc.) Hannah Teter (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
·        Won two silver medals and one gold at the 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea

·        Placed second at X Games Aspen three times and bronze once in the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding event with Hannah Teter

·        Was part of the Special Olympics USA Games 2018 TV talent team for ESPN

·        Her favorite snowboarder and role model is Hannah Teter

·        Six-time X Games medalist, including one gold in 2004 at age 16

·        Dedicated to humanitarian issues – the profit of her maple syrup “Hannah’s Gold” goes to bringing fresh water to a community in Kenya

·        Has teamed up with Daina Shilts in the Unified Dual Slalom for all five consecutive years

Chase Lodder (Salt Lake City, Utah) Danny Davis (Highland, Mich.)
·        Played tons of sports growing up but it wasn’t until he was introduced to Special Olympics that he truly enjoyed it

·        One of his highlights was traveling to Washington, DC for Capitol Hill Day where he met with  congress to advocate for the importance of funding Special Olympics

·        Volunteered at Temple Square in Salt Lake City as a garden aide

·        Won back to back SuperPipe gold medals in 2014 and 2015

·        Created Peace Park, an invite-only, five-day “contest” with no scores on a unique, skatepark-influenced course

·        Co-founded the Frendly Gathering, an annual music festival held in Vermont

Carson Geiger (Idaho) Scotty James (Warrandyte, Australia)
·        First skied at age five but nearly immediately switched to snowboarding

·        Has been competing at Special Olympics in Utah for about 15 years, including basketball too

·        Recently moved to Idaho because the state includes winter sports programming for Special Olympics

·        Two-time Olympic athlete, 2015 World Champion, and X Games medalist

·        First male Australian snowboarder to medal in SuperPipe at X Games

·        Plays banjo every day and earned his pilot’s license in 2014

Joey Franken (Colorado) Silje Norendal (Oslo, Norway)
·        Attended X Games last year as a spectator to cheer on other Special Olympics athletes

·        Has been with Special Olympics for 13 years and snowboarding for five

·        Born with Klippel Trenanauv Syndrome, Joey experiences extreme soreness but is always ready to hit the slopes when it’s training time

·        Three-time X Games Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist

·        Nike covergirl, has been featured in the Norwegian editions of Cosmo and Elle magazines

·        Member of the Norwegian national team

Cody Field (Centennial, Colo.) Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nevada)
·        Named Special Olympics Colorado Male Athlete of the Year in 2013

·        Won three gold medals at the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in PyeongChang

·        Recognized as 2012 Colorado Athlete with a Disability  Award

·        Competes in basketball, volleyball, soccer and flag football at Special Olympics

·        Actress, model, para-snowboarder, motivational speaker, clothing designer and author

·        2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, 2018 Paralympic silver medalist

·        Co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports

Christopher Perdue (Osgood, Indiana) Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, Minn.)
·        Competed in the 2017 Winter World Games in Austria and took home gold in the Advanced Giant Slalom Event

·        First started at Special Olympics at Indiana’s Winter Games in Lawrenceburg

·        Is also involved in basketball, track and field, softball, bowling and powerlifting

·        Three-sport X Games athlete with the most adaptive gold medals in X Games history (eight between SnoCross Adaptive and Moto X Racing Adaptive)

·        Won SnoCross Adaptive every time he’s competed

·        Above-the-knee amputee who created his own knee and prosthetic leg to accommodate his activities

Charlie Kleiman (New York City, New York) Jack Mitrani (Long Island, New York)
·        An ambassador for the Adaptive Sports Foundation to help promote their activities

·        Recently graduated from the Borough of Manhattan Community College

·        Helps out at the Adaptive Sports Foundation’s annual “Ride to Live” event to introduce other disabled students to snowboarding, as he has been snowboarding for a decade

·        Host of X Games Aspen 2019

·        Snowboarder, entrepreneur, filmmaker, music festival producer and aspiring musician

·        Co-owner and producer of Frendly Gathering music festival

·        Graduate of Stratton Mountain School

Suk Il Hwang (Korea) Chloe Kim (Torrance, California)
·        Teaches inline skating and competes in weightlifting at Special Olympics

·        Has been going to resorts to train snowboarding since 2008 and has snowboarded for more than a decade

·        Was a torch bearer in PyeongChang at the Special Olympic World Games in 2013

 

·        Earned two X Games gold medals (Aspen and Oslo) in 2016, bronze in 2017 and then earned the top spot once more in 2018

·        Took gold at the PyeongChang Winter Games

·        Tri-lingual, first generation American

 

Juan Guentrutripai (Chile) Scotty Lago (Seabrook, New Hampshire)
·        When he was 9 years old, had a tumor in his left lung and experienced two rounds of chemotherapy

·        Studies at the Tomas Burgos Liceo as a junior in high school

·        Was selected to represented Special Olympics Chile at the Special Olympics Winter World Games in Austria in 2017 where he placed 5th in the Intermediate Snowboarding Advanced Slalom

 

·        Has won four X Games medals from three disciplines, including one gold in Best Method

·        One of the most stylish riders in the field, known for being an exceptional backcountry rider

·        After winning the halfpipe bronze at the 2010 Sochi Winter Games, his family’s ice cream shop named a flavor after him, called “The Bronze Run”

 

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Contacts:        

Olivia Wilson, ESPN Communications, 904-303-3538, [email protected]

Mark Daley, Special Olympics Communications, 202-824-0389, [email protected]

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Olivia Wilson

Based out of the LAPC in Los Angeles, Calif., Olivia Wilson is a senior publicist focusing on X Games and West Coast PR. Prior to joining the ESPN Communications team, Wilson was located in Austin, Texas and graduated from Florida State University in 2014.
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