MADISON, WISCONSIN, February 1, 2016 – Ten Special Olympics athletes from around the world joined X Games medalist, Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe gold medalist and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Hannah Teter and nine other professional athletes on Thursday in Aspen, Colo., for the 20th X Games winter event.
For the second time in X Games history, X Games Aspen 2016 included the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding event. Each team consisted of one Special Olympics athlete and one X Games athlete participating in the dual giant slalom race on Buttermilk Mountain. Special Olympics athletes competed on the slalom course in a head-to-head race, followed by their teammates racing against each other on the same course. To determine final ranking, each teams’ scores were a combination of the Special Olympics athlete and their unified teammates’ time.
Special Olympics Athlete X Games Athlete Combined Team Score
Henry Meece Chris Klug 36.0
Zachary Elder Danny Davis 36.8
Daina Shilts Hannah Teter 38.0
Denny Wedekind Sage Kotsenburg 38.5
Cody Field Jaime Anderson 41.6
Christopher Mitchell Chloe Kim 43.6
Andre Berg Silje Norendal 44.3
Steven Utgaard Josh Kerr 48.9
Chris Brittan Scotty James 61.6
Brian Doolan Nyjah Huston 64.4
Gold, silver and bronze X Games medals were presented on the awards stage to the top three Unified pairs following competition. In addition to Hannah Teter, nine of the world’s best action sports athletes raced Special Olympics athletes in the dual slalom including: Chris Klug, Danny Davis, Sage Kotsenburg, Jaime Anderson, Chloe Kim, Silje Norendal, Josh Kerr, Nyjah Huston and Scotty James.
Special Olympics Wisconsin’s own Daina Shilts was chosen to participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races as part of this year’s X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
X Games Aspen, the most complete youth cultural and action sports experience, descended 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.
ESPN and ABC televised a combined 16 hours of live X Games Aspen 2016 competition. Highlights of Thursday’s event were aired as part of X Games coverage during the weekend of January 29-31.
To view a full suite of photos from the event, visit: http://bit.ly/1WWSl5n
“It’s an amazing feeling knowing you’re at the X-Games, not only just watching but competing. It’s an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s so cool to hang out with all the pros and especially with my partner and friend Hannah Teter,” Shilts stated during one of her interviews with Hannah Teter for ESPN. “Let me just say the X Games has gone beyond the word of inclusion. Inclusion is so important to us because for that moment we feel like an equal. And let me tell you that is so important and means so much to me and athletes like me.”
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®.
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.