SOWI Athlete, Daina Shilts, to Compete at the 2016 Winter X-Games

October 27, 2015

118028-2Shilts&TetershowoffmedalsSpecial Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) athlete Daina Shilts, of Neillsville, was recently invited back to compete in Unified Snowboarding at the 2016 Winter X-Games to be held in Aspen, Colorado January 28-31. Earlier this year was the first time the event hosted Special Olympic athletes, and Shilts was one of 10 competitors invited to the games. All medalists from X Games Aspen 2015 who have sport disciplines returning in 2016 will receive an invite to compete in the X-Games Aspen 2016 event. Shilts won a silver medal in competition in the last Winter X-Games which solidified her chances of being invited back.

“When I received the news, all I could do was jump up and down, I was telling myself to scream, talk, do something, but all I could get out was a HUGE smile and jump up and down, up and down a million times,” Shilts stated after thinking back to the day her announcement was made at the Special Olympics Wisconsin 2015 Leadership Conference Awards Banquet by VP of Program Services, Bob Whitehead.

Shilts will be paired up with an X Games athlete and compete against other teams in a dual-slalom race. She’ll race another Special Olympics athlete, with her time combined with her partner’s to determine a winner.

Shilts looks forward to this year and the improvements she can make from this past Winter X-Games, “Of course I would like to get the Gold with my idol Hannah Teter! Meet more people and make new friends. Show the world what Special Olympics, my coaches, and very importantly what inclusion has done for me. And especially, learn from the pros and get better and improve in what I do. Because there’s always room for improvement.”

With a little less than three months before the start of the Winter X-Games, Shilts is excited and already training and conditioning for her competition.

“For me racing is great, but to race not only against the clock but against another competitor is so, so, so amazing. It just pushes me to do better.”


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