Daina Shilts Selected to Participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races at X Games Aspen

January 25, 2016

When X Games Aspen returns to celebrate its 15th year in Aspen Snowmass, Colo., from January 28-31, the winter action sports and youth lifestyle festival will descend upon Buttermilk Mountain with an expanded and fully-medaled adaptive sport lineup and the return of Snowmobile Freestyle and Skier X, showcasing the talents of more than 200 world-class athletes from around the globe. X Games Aspen 2016 – with live coverage on ESPN and ABC and an extensive array of content across digital platforms – is also presenting a Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding dual slalom competition on Thursday, Jan. 28. Each team will consist of one Special Olympics athlete and one X Games athlete participating in the dual giant slalom race on Buttermilk Mountain. X Games and Olympic Snowboard SuperPipe gold medalist and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Hannah Teter helped bring the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races to X Games two years ago and will join a line-up of Olympic medalists and professional athletes participating in the race including Olympic Snowboard medalist Jamie Anderson.

As one of only 10 Special Olympics athletes, Special Olympics Wisconsin’s own Daina Shilts of Neillsville was chosen to participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races as part of this year’s X Games in Aspen, Colorado on Thursday, January 28th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CST.

“I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. I’ve been training very hard. I hope to get the gold and hope to beat all nine boys out of ten athletes; I’m the only girl so I’m going to show them my girl power.” Shilts competed in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea as an advanced female snowboarder, walking away with gold and two silver medals. This will be her second year attending the X Games in a Special Olympics Unified event. Shilts took home a silver medal in the X-Games Unified dual slalom last year with partner Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter.

Held for the second time as an official part of the XGames lineup, the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding races combine athletes – with and without intellectual disabilities – as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics’ Unified Sports®, which helps unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion. Half a million people worldwide take part in Special Olympics Unified Sports® competitions, helping to break down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. ESPN is the global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports® and was also the global media partner for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles in July 2015.

ESPN and ABC will televise a combined 16 hours of live X Games Aspen 2016 competition. Forthcoming details on the X Games athletes, full competition schedule, music and more will be available on www.xgames.com at a later date.
About ESPN
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment company, features more than 50 assets – seven U.S. television networks, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by The Hearst Corporation.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.4 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 94,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Toys”R”Us, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.


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