X Games and Special Olympics Athletes Announced for Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Event

January 23, 2017

Eight Special Olympics Athletes Paired with X Games Teammates for Live Streamed Unified Snowboard Race at X Games Aspen 2017

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WHAT: In 2017, Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding will return for its third year at X Games Aspen. Teams will be comprised of one professional action sports athlete, including X Games and Olympic medalists, and one Special Olympics action sports athlete for a total of eight, two-person teams. 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 nearly 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, including special guest Henry Meece who has medaled in the event the past two years.

Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. ESPN is the global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports.

WHEN: Thursday, January 26 at 11:30 a.m. MT

WHERE: The Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding course is located above the start of the Big Air course at X Games Aspen (Buttermilk Mountain).

WATCH: 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.

WHO: Eight Special Olympics athletes and eight of the world’s top action sports athletes.

Confirmed Special Olympic and professional action sports athletes include:

Daina Shilts (Wisconsin) Hannah Teter (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
· Won two silver medals and one gold at the 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea· Placed third at X Games Aspen 2016 in the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding event with Hannah Teter

· Her favorite snowboarder and role model is Hannah Teter

 

· Six-time X Games medalist, including one gold in 2004 at age 16· Dedicated to humanitarian issues – the profit of her maple syrup “Hannah’s Gold” goes to bringing fresh water to a community in Kenya

· Has teamed up with Daina Shilts in the Dual Giant Slalom for three-consecutive years

Chris Perdue (Osgood, Indiana) Danny Davis (Highland, Mich.)
· First experience with Special Olympics was snowboarding at Indiana’s Winter Games· Has been snowboarding and part of Special Olympics for five years, where he is involved in basketball, softball and powerlifting

· At training camp for the World Winter Games his coach said he was always the last athlete off the slopes – loves competing

· Won back to back SuperPipe gold medals in 2014 and 2015· Created Peace Park, an invite-only, five-day “contest” with no scores on a unique, skatepark-influenced course

· Co-founded the Frendly Gathering, an annual music festival held in Vermont

André Berg (Vikhammer, Norway) Silje Norendal (Oslo, Norway)
· Competes in the annual Beitstølen during Ridderweek in Norway· Hopes this event will increase awareness and help bring snowboarding to Special Olympics Norway

· Has been snowboarding for five years and returns to the competition this year with Silje as his partner once again

· Three-time X Games Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist· Nike covergirl, has been featured in the Norwegian editions of Cosmo and Elle magazines

· Member of the Norwegian national team

Takeshi Hashimoto (Nippon, Japan) Yuki Kadono (Tokyo, Japan)
· Has been snowboarding for 13 years and part of Special Olympics for 17 years· Special Olympics is a huge part of his life; he says along with his job at Toyota and his friends and family, it’s what gets him through life · Has four X Games medals including a gold from X Games Oslo for Big Air· Competed for Japan at the 2014 Winter Olympics, qualifying for the final and finishing 8th overall

· Has been riding since he was just eight years old

Semen A Ferotov (Russia) Jamie Anderson (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
· Won two gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2009 World Winter Games in Idaho· Will compete in the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria

·  Has been snowboarding for nine years

· The most decorated rider in X Games Slopestyle history, Jamie boasts 11 medals including four gold· Won gold in Slopestyle’s Olympic debut in 2014

· Named “30 Under 30” on 2015 Forbes Sports list and won ESPY for Best Female Olympian in 2014

Nikolas Beer (Klagenfurt, Austria) Kevin Pearce (Hanover, N.H.)
Named Athlete of the Year 2016 in AustriaWill compete in the World Winter Games in 2017 in Austria

Works as a gardener growing vegetables in his local community

·Former professional snowboarder and is now an inspirational survivor, sports commentator, and motivational speaker·Sports ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society and advocate for education and research on traumatic brain injuries

·712 days after his own traumatic brain injury, Kevin rode again in Breckenridge, CO

Mario Horn (Klagenfurt, Austria) Anna Gasser (Innsbruck, Austria)
· Competed in 2009 World Winter Special Olympics in Idaho· Also participates in cycling and soccer

· Special Olympics is a very important social and sports platform for him

· Went from the Austrian National Gymnastics Team until she was 15 to the Austrian Olympic Team in a brand new sport: slopestyle· Made her X Games debut in 2014, where she placed fifth

·Still does gymnastics and trampoline to train

Craig Muhlbock (Sydney, Australia) Scotty James (Warrandyte, Australia)
· Participated in Special Olympics snowboarding events for the past seven years, including two National Games and the 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea, where he won three silver medals· In 2013, represented Australia at the Asia Pacific Games in soccer

· Joined Special Olympics 14 years ago

· Two-time Olympian, 2015 World Champion, and X Games medalist· First male Australian snowboarder to medal at X Games

· Plays banjo every day and earned his pilot’s license in 2014

Contacts:        

Olivia Wilson    ESPN Communications, 213-304-1919, olivia.wilson@espn.com

Danny Chi        ESPN Communications, 310-500-5699, danny.c.chi@espn.com


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