Send off celebration for 12 Special Olympic athletes heading to 2017 Winter World Games

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Special Olympic San Diego is proud to announce that 12 floor hockey athletes from El Cajon will represent the United States as part of Special Olympics USA at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. On March 8, family and friends of these athletes gathered to celebrate all that they achieved this past year and wish them well as they begin their journey to Austria.

Special Olympic San Diego is proud to announce that 12 floor hockey athletes from El Cajon will represent the United States as part of Special Olympics USA at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. On March 8, family and friends of these athletes gathered to celebrate all that they achieved this past year and wish them well as they begin their journey to Austria.

A representative from Sen. Joel Anderson’s office was in attendance and awarded each athlete and coach a Certificate of Appreciation. These athletes include: Jordan Bradley, Arianna Gulick, Christopher Hurn, Haley James, Casey Lucore, Charles Martindale, Jessica Moland, Jordan Pfauth, John Razo, Thomas Selbe, Zachary Wine and Ryan Woods.

Coaches Rodney and Kimberly Hurn and Mark Martindale were in attendance. Head Coach Rodney Hurn said Special Olympics gives the athletes a better chance to compete with fellow individuals with intellectual disabilities at a similar skill level. Away from the competition he said Special Olympics has made a “huge difference” in his player’s social skills. “It’s changed our lives,” he said. “It basically is our life.”

Special Olympics USA is the national team that represents the United States at the Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games. The 210member 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.

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 expected to be the largest Special Olympics World Winter Games in history taking place in Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos and Ramsau, Austria 14 March – 25 March 2017. 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.

To follow our El Cajon Floor Hockey team, visit:  El Cajon Special Olympics –Rodney Hurns Team For Special Olympics USA, visit www.specialolympicsusa.org, and follow on Facebook:www.facebook.com/specialolympicsusa,Twitter: @specialolyUSA, Instagram: @specialolympicsusa. Hash Tag: #Cheer4USA

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