Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding will return for its fourth year at the 2018 X Games Aspen. Gold medalist of the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria, Chris Perdue, of Osgood, will be returning for his second year. Perdue, a 19 year old student at South Ripley High School, will be joined by seven other Special Olympics athletes from Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, New York, Australia and Czech Republic.
Teams will be comprised of one professional action sports athlete, including X Games and Olympic medalist, 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 Special Olympics athletes racing one another. The combined best times of each team will determine the results.
Perdue will be paired up with Mike Schultz, an American Snowmobiler. Schultz is a three-sport X Games athlete with the most adaptive gold medals in XG history — he has 8 between SnoCross Adaptive and Moto X Racing Adaptive. He’s won SnoCross Adaptive every time he’s competed; a 2016 win brought the total to five. Schultz is an above-the-knee amputee who created his own knee and prosthetic leg to accommodate his activities. The self-trained engineer now has a successful business, Biodapt, serving adaptive athletes and veterans. He builds prosthetics for several of his competitors.
For the fourth consecutive year, this event will provide an opportunity for X Games Aspen pro athletes and fans to see the power of Special Olympics in action. Special Olympics will further cultivate another annual tradition that celebrates individuals with and without intellectual disabilities partnering in sports.
Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. ESPN is the global sponsor and official media sponsor of the Special Olympics Unified Sports. The event will be streamed live on ESPN3 on January 25th and will be available on YouTube.
Hannah Teter, the most decorated female Olympic Snowboarder and global ambassador for Special Olympics, helped bring the event to the X Games.
Thursday, January 25th @ 2:15 p.m. (Mountain Time/Cinti 4:15 p.m.)
Fourth Annual Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Race – Buttermilk Mountain
Friday, January 26th @ 12:00 p.m. (Mountain Time/Cinti 2:00 p.m.)
Fifth Annual Hannah Teter Unified Dual Slalom Race Presented by Perfect Sense – Silver Dip NASTAR Course, Aspen Mountain
About X Games:
X Games, an annual sports event controlled and arranged by American sports broadcaster, ESPN (with coverage also shown on its sister network ABC) returns to Aspen, Colorado’s Buttermilk Mountain from January 25-28. Inviting the top Ski, Snowboard, Snowmobile and Snow Bike athletes to compete in 18 different disciplines over four days of the world’s premier winter extreme action sports, music festival.
ESPN took to the idea quicker than she had hoped, and the event debuted in 2015.
For Teter, who has been inspired by a brother with intellectual disabilities, the event gives as much to the pro riders as they give to it.
“I think the pro riders take away just as much as the special Olympians do,” she said. “The Special Olympic athletes bring us back to our roots, which is how you get better.”
Tim Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics International, said the X Games have created a model for other sports to follow. High schools up through pro sports should have unified events that include Special Olympic athletes.
“I think we’re witnessing the beginning of a whole new model of what great sports looks like,” said Shriver, the son of the organization’s founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
“There should be parallel, heats, divisions, competitors. And the fans will love it and people will learn a profound lesson that to this time, sport has not taught, which is that the main measure of a person’s capacity to compete in sport is not who they beat but how well they compete. Not who is the best but what’s your best?”