Local Special Olympics Athlete Selected to Participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races at X Games Aspen

January 24, 2017


Madison, Wisconsin, January 23 2017 – When X Games Aspen returns to celebrate its 16th year in Aspen Snowmass, Colo., from January 26-29, the winter action sports and youth lifestyle festival will descend upon Buttermilk Mountain and showcase the talents of more than 200 world-class athletes from around the globe.  X Games Aspen 2017 – 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. 26.  Each team will consist of one Special Olympics athlete and one X Games athlete participating in the dual giant slalom race on Buttermilk Mountain.  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.

This competition comes less than two months before ESPN’s multimedia coverage of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, from March 14 to 25. With thousands of competitions around the world each year, Special Olympics athletes train in more than 30 sports in 170 countries. World Games competitions are hosted every two years to showcase the best the movement has to offer. This year’s ESPN coverage will mark the first-ever global coverage for a World Winter Games event. All of the Special Olympics athletes competing at X Games will be attending the World Winter Games in Austria.


As one of only 8 Special Olympics athletes, 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 on Thursday, January 26th from 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. MST.  The event will be streamed live on the XGames.com and the X Games YouTube Channel, with highlights incorporated into the X Games Aspen coverage on ESPN and ABC throughout the weekend.

“Special Olympics Wisconsin is thrilled that Daina will be attending her third X Games with her Unified partner Hannah Teter this year. This is a wonderful event that really shows the skills our Special Olympic athletes possess and we are grateful to ESPN and Hannah Teter for bring it to the X Games,” stated Special Olympics Wisconsin President and CEO, Kathleen Roach.

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 three years ago 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. More than 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®.

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 5.3 million athletes and Unified partners in 169 countries.  With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 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 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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