Expected to be the largest Special Olympics World Winter Games in history, The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held March 14-25 in Austria. Approximately, 2,600 athletes from 106 nations will compete in the games, including 210 athletes that will represent the United States. The athletes will compete in one of seven sports, Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing, and Speed Skating.
Of these 210 athletes, six will be from Illinois. They are Steve McVoy, of Arlington Heights, Lisa Menichino, of Bartlett, Thomas Shimoda II, of Chicago, Danielle Lanxon, of Belleville, Jamiah Shepard, of South Holland, and James Wireman, of Washington. The Illinois Athletes will compete in the following games; Alpine Skiing- Steve McVoy, Cross-Country Skiing- Lisa Menichino, Speed Skating- Thomas Shimoda II, and Snowshoeing- Danielle Lanxon, Jamiah Shepard, James Wireman. Special Olympics Illinois will also send two coaches, Barb Needham of Pekin and Maggie Rutenbeck of Bloomington, and one medical staff member, Greg Eberle of Pekin to the Games.
Head of the Delegation for Special Olympics USA, Chris Hahn stated, “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. 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.”
For additional information regarding the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, visit www.austria2017.org.