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Special Olympics

Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 on ESPN2:  Monday, March 20

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  • ESPN3 adding first-ever LIVE streaming coverage in U.S.
  • Lindsay Czarniak and Kevin Neghandhi host coverage at 6 p.m. ET
  • Mraz & VanderWaal Light Up the Opening Ceremony
  • .com coverage continues with powerful stories
  • ESPN Images photographers capturing the World Winter Games

ESPN’s global coverage of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, the largest sporting and humanitarian event in 2017, began with live coverage of the Games’ beautiful and moving Opening Ceremony on Saturday, March 18, from the packed Planai Stadium in Schladming.

ESPN3 Adding LIVE streaming coverage in U.S.
In the U.S. ESPN will add its first-ever live streaming coverage of Special Olympics World Winter Games Slalom and Giant Slalom races in both Snowboarding and Skiing taking place in Schladming, Austria at Hochwurzen Mountain. It will include coverage on Tuesday and Thursday on ESPN3.

Tuesday, March 21, 4-10 a.m. ET
Advanced Division in Giant Slalom Snowboarding (8-10 a.m. ET)
Advanced and Intermediate Divisions in Giant Slalom Skiing (4-9 a.m. ET)
Watch

Thursday, March 23, 4-10 a.m. ET
Advanced Division Slalom Snowboarding (8-10 a.m. ET)
Advanced and Intermediate Divisions Slalom Skiing (4-9 a.m. ET)
Watch


ICYMI: 
Mraz & VanderWaal Light Up the Opening Ceremony
Viewers of Saturday’s live three-hour telecast saw the 2700-strong Parade of Athletes, featuring teams from 105 countries, as well as the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron. Viewers, and the crowd of thousands in Planai Stadium also saw musical performances by German singer Helene Fischer and multi-Grammy Award-winning musician Jason Mraz, who was joined by Grace VanderWaal (winner of America’s Got Talent) in a performance of his hit song “I’m Yours” and the duo were joined by a choir of local school children from Schladming, and Special Olympics Global Messengers to perform a special rendition of “I Won’t Give Up” – inspired by LIVE ART’S inclusive education program.

Watch the full performance here.

Mraz said of the experience, “The opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Winter Games was by far the most beautiful live concert experience I’ve ever been a part of. I am so honored to have been considered worthy of the task. I made some great new friends and left Schladming in awe; inspired by the athletes, coaches and families from around the world. They made a fan for life.”

Special guests at the Opening Ceremony included Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Apolo Ohno, Hannah Teter, Dikembe Mutombo, Michelle Kwan, Sam Perkins and more.

NIGHTLY COVERAGE – 6 p.m. on ESPN2
Coverage continues every night this week at 6pm on ESPN2 with Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017.  Hosted each night throughout the World Winter Games by ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak and Kevin Neghandhi, the program will originate on site in Austria and include interviews, features, special guests, a daily “competition showcase” segment, and contributions from ESPN’s Jen Lada, Victoria Arlen and Marty Smith, as well as ESPN contributor and Special Olympics Global Messenger, Dustin Plunkett.

On tonight’s show:

  • Samuel Santos from Gibraltar – In the summer, Special Olympics gold medalist Santos competes in open water swimming, but come in Austria, it’s all about alpine skiing. Not only an accomplished athlete, Santos also gives back to his community as a coach. Preview
  • Competition Showcase from Alpine events with Brandon Graham, Luke Van Valen and Victoria Arlen.


ICYMI
: For those that missed Sunday’s show, highlights included:

  • Kenneth Meneses Ramirez – A snowshoer from rural Costa Rica with limited resources available to help him with his disability, but his strong internal desire to compete has led him to the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Watch
  • Schladming Splash: A story with original photography capturing the fundraising Polar Plunge with Tim Shriver, law enforcement officers, Special Olympic athletes and others. Watch


ESPN DIGITAL FEATURES & COVERAGE
ESPN’s global digital platforms – the world’s leading portfolio of digital sports properties in the world, including local editions of ESPN.com and the ESPN App, streaming platforms and more – will offer extensive coverage in the build-up to, and throughout, the World Winter Games.

With news, long-form feature storytelling, video, blogs from athletes, coaches and volunteers, photo galleries and more, ESPN examines the people and topics of the Special Olympics movement.

Among the highlighted coverage today, is:

  • British alpine skier James Millard lost his mother right before the Peoyongchang games and has dedicated Austria 2017 to her.
  • Feature on Joe Kaczynski, a cross country skier from Midland, Mich., and the special relationship he has with his brother.

PHOTOGRAPHIC COVERAGE
ESPN Images is capturing photos from around the Special Olympics World Games throughout the week, including the below. The full collection of ESPN Images photos from the event, available for use, can be found here: http://bit.ly/2nze2to


U.S. TV SCHEDULE:  Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria

Day/Date Program Time (ET) Network
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

CONTACT:
ESPN:  Paul Melvin   +1 860 766 5069 or [email protected]
              Teri Couch    +1 860 766 4696 or [email protected]


ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS WORLD WINTER GAMES AUSTRIA 2017
Every two years, Special Olympics holds its flagship event, the World Games, demonstrating sports excellence, which promotes equality, respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Transcending the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion, the world will come together to celebrate inclusion around the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos and Ramsau, Austria 14 March – 25 March 2017. More than 2,700 athletes and 1,000 coaches representing 107 countries, along with 10,000 volunteers and thousands more spectators, will participate in and watch exciting sports and community events. This is the second time Austria has hosted the World Winter Games, having also staged the event in 1993. Sports featured are Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Floor Hockey, Floorball, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing, and Stick Shooting. For more information on the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.austria2017.org and on social on Facebook, and Twitter.

ESPN AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS
ESPN is proud of its relationship with Special Olympics, which spans more than 31 years and over the past three years, ESPN has continued to deepen its relationship with the Special Olympics movement.

Earlier this year, ESPN and Special Olympics committed to continuing their alliance to use the power of sports to promote social inclusion and acceptance by reaching two agreements:  an extension, and expansion, of ESPN’s Global Presenting Sponsorship of Special Olympics Unified Sports® and a new, three-year global programming agreement.

The new $1.5 million grant supports Special Olympics Unified Sports, as well as other initiatives, and extends and expands a role ESPN has held since 2013. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. With support from ESPN and others, Special Olympics has grown this innovative and inclusive program to more than 1.2 million participants. As part of the continued support of Unified Sports, ESPN will invest in Special Olympics’ goal to build Unified Sports programming and resources in 10,000 schools by 2020 and ensuring 100,000 coaches receive new/renewed sports certifications by 2020.

ESPN’s global Special Olympics programming agreement means ESPN is not only an Official Broadcaster of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, but also the Official Broadcaster of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, and the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games. ESPN is also adding more news and feature coverage of other Special Olympics events, athletes and stories over the course of the three-year agreement

ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use the power of sport to positively address society’s most pressing needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship 
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