Special Olympic World Winter Games: The First Week

March 17, 2017

Virginia Wade, U.S. Alpine Skier, and the Special Olympics U.S.A. team arrived in the Austria Alps earlier this week for the Special Olympic World Winter Games. Game activities started March 14th, and will run through March 25th.

The Superfresh Growers team wore their red, white, and blue in support of the Virginia Wade and the Special Olympics USA team

The Superfresh team had the opportunity to join the Washington Special Olympic athletes at an official send-off at the Seattle-Tacoma airport on March 11th. Virginia Wade was joined by Jeremy Beckham, Snowboarding, Ryan Fielding, Alpine Skiing, and Stefanie Sarason, Nordic Skiing. The four Washington athletes arrived to SeaTac among a sea of red, white, and blue and chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.”

Family, friends, and sponsors gathered at Seattle Tacoma airport to cheer on Washington athletes

Flight attendants proudly wore Special Olympic scarves, and friends, family and sponsors from all over the State showed pride for the competitors with home-made signs. On the way to security, the athletes were led by TSA officers and the Seattle Police Department. They proudly cheered everyone on, as the Special Olympic participants received a “celebrity-like” parade.

Virginia and Nordic Skier Stefanie Sarason

The enthusiasm continued as the athletes paraded through SeaTac, past security. Alaska Airlines enthusiastically announced the arrival of each competitor, creating cheers from all surrounding gates. Teams from Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska joined the Washington athletes, and each team and athlete was named as they boarded the plane, creating cheer and excitement throughout the terminal. Alaska Airlines, TSA and the Seattle Police Department teamed together to allow friends and family to join the athletes to the gate and show support.

Family and friends joined Virginia at the gate to watch Virginia take-off. In photo from left to right: Alex Wade, Duncan Wade, Amy Martin, Katie Wade, and Superfresh Growers Catherine Gipe-Stewart

 

All U.S. athletes met in Washington, D.C., before heading to Austria. This week has been a week of exploring Austrian culture, including home-stays and participating in Austrian traditions. Virginia had the pleasure of meeting the Prince of Liechtenstein at one Special Olympics event.

Host town visits included cultural events such as horse drawn carriages (photo from Special Olympics)

Along her journey to the Special Olympics, Virginia had the opportunity to meet other celebrities too. Fellow sponsor, Microsoft, arranged a day-long ski adventure with Josh Peck, who played Josh Nichols in Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh. The two spent a day skiing together, and Virginia taught Josh one her songs from a musical she is writing about her adventures on the Appalachian Trail. In 2014, Virginia and her family hiked the 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail. Virginia wore a tutu during the 7 month epic family journey, and became known as “Tutu” on the trail. Virginia taught Josh one of the songs from her aptly named musical, “TUTU.” To see the video adventure, check out Microsoft’s video, Special Olympics USA: Virginia Wade and Josh Peck Ski Together.

The Opening Ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 18th, and will be aired on cable television for the first time!

U.S. TV Schedule:  ESPN’s Coverage of Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 

Day/Date

Program

Time (ET)

Network

Sat, Mar 18

LIVE: Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 — Opening Ceremony

2-5 p.m.

ABC

Sun, Mar 19

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

2-3 p.m.

ABC

Mon, Mar 20

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

6-6:30 p.m.

ESPN2

Tue, Mar 21

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

6-7 p.m.

ESPN2

Wed, Mar 22

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

6-7 p.m.

ESPN2

Thu, Mar 23

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

6-7 p.m.

ESPN2

Fri, Mar 24

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

6-7 p.m.

ESPN2

Sun, Mar 26

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 —
Best of the Games

2-3 p.m.

ABC

NOTE:   All shows will also be simulcast on the ESPN App and WatchESPN

Virginia checking in and getting ready for a long flight!

The alpine course for qualifiers on March 17, 2017 (photo sourced from Special Olympics)

Athletes from Oman and Germany play team-bonding games during their host-town adventures (photo from Special Olympics).

 

Special Olympic photos from the Special Olympic Flikr website. 

 

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