210 Athletes and Coaches to Represent U.S. at 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games
January 12, 2017 – Madison, Wisconsin — Special Olympics Wisconsin is proud to announce 3 athletes will be representing the United States, as part of Special Olympics USA at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, The Games will be held March 14-25, 2017, in Graz, Ramsau and Schladming, Austria. These athletes include: Daina Shilts from Neilsville, snowbarding, Kyle Robinson from Ashland, alpine skiing, and Heidi Van Abel from Manitowoc, cross-country skiing.
Special Olympics USA is the national team that represents the United States at the Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games. The 210-member delegation is comprised of 150 athletes, 40 coaches and approximately 20 delegation members who support team operations. The delegation also includes Special Olympics Unified Sports teams, where people with and without intellectual disabilities compete together, as teammates. Team members will compete in seven sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoeing and speed skating.
“Special Olympics Wisconsin is excited Daina, Kyle, Heidi as well as our coaches Steve Meurett, Bonnie Kahn, and Susan Jodarski and staff, Melissa Maxwell, will represent the state of Wisconsin during the 2017 World Winter Games this March. Our athletes have trained hard in their respective sports and look forward to traveling to Austria and competing against other world athletes,” stated Special Olympics Wisconsin President & CEO, Kathleen Roach.
Every two years, the world transcends the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion to come together for the Special Olympics World Games. Alternating between summer and winter Games, this event is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, which promotes equality, tolerance and acceptance around the world.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these athletes to demonstrate their athletic abilities, competing at the highest level on the world stage, and to have life and cultural experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” said Chris Hahn, Head of Delegation for Special Olympics USA. “I encourage every American to cheer on these inspiring athletes, to share in their triumphs and to take pride in knowing that they will represent our country with excellence and honor.”
This is expected to be the largest Special Olympics World Winter Games in history. An estimated 2,600 athletes from 106 nations will compete in 9 Olympic-type sports at the 2017 Special Olympics World Games: Floorball, Floor Hockey, Stick Shooting, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing.
Serving as the Premier Sponsor of the team is Bank of America. “Our support of Special Olympics reflects our belief that diverse and inclusive communities are stronger communities,” said Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne Finucane. “We look forward to cheering on the men and women competing as part of Special Olympics USA.”
ESPN’s global television networks and digital media will bring extensive coverage to sports fans and supporters of the Special Olympics movement around the world. ESPN’s coverage, from March 18-25, marks the first-ever global coverage for a World Winter Games event.
As an official broadcaster of the Special Olympics World Winter Games, ESPN’s television coverage will be carried across its networks in the U.S. as well as streamed through WatchESPN and the ESPN App.
Bank of America is the Premier Sponsor of Special Olympics USA. Official sponsors for Special Olympics USA include Finish Line, Burton and Champion.
To follow Special Olympics USA, visit www.specialolympicsusa.org, and follow on Facebook:www.facebook.com/specialolympicsusa,Twitter: @specialolyUSA, Instagram: @specialolympicsusa. Hash Tag: #Cheer4USA
About 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria
Every two years, Special Olympics holds its flagship event, the World Games, demonstrating sports excellence, which promotes equality, respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Transcending the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion, the world will come together to celebrate inclusion around the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos and Ramsau, Austria 14 March – 25 March 2017. More than 2,600 athletes and 1,000 coaches representing 106 countries, along with 10,000 volunteers and thousands more spectators, will participate in and watch exciting sports and community events. This is the second time Austria has hosted the World Winter Games, having also staged the event in 1993. Sports featured are Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Floor Hockey, Floorball, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing, and Stick Shooting. For more information on the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.austria2017.org and on social on Facebook, and Twitter.