OKLAHOMA CITY – Olympic Gold Medalist Bart Conner flew to PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, in January to continue his passion and support of the Special Olympics at the 2013 World Winter Games.
With approximately four million athletes in more than 170 countries, the Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities.
It all began when Eunice Kennedy Shriver had a vision for the fair and just treatment of people with intellectual disabilities. She pioneered a foundation where children could play, that focuses on the fact that people with intellectual disabilities can, and will succeed when given the opportunity.
Conner, who serves as the vice-chair of the Special Olympics International board of directors, holds this life-changing organization near to his heart.
"One of my great joys in life is being involved with Special Olympics,” Conner said. “Eunice Kennedy Shriver is among my greatest heroes for her passion to use sports as the catalyst to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities."
During this year’s games, over 2,500 athletes competed in various winter sports such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, speed skating, snowshoeing and other sports.
Conner, a volunteer for Special Olympics for 33 years, had the opportunity to participate in a snowshoeing relay race in the new Special Olympics Unified Sports.
“Special Olympics Unified Sports is an exciting new program where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities compete on the same team,” Conner said. “We had fun, but the Special Olympics athletes from Russia completely smoked us. They were exceptionally fit and fast!"
The 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games also welcomed other prominent legends, leaders and celebrities such as: Toby Dawson, Donna DeVarona, Dan Jansen, Michelle Kwan, Yuna Kim, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo, Apolo Ohno, Sam Perkins, Karl Schranz, Trixie Schuba, Hannah Teter, Xhang Ziyi, Michael Tritscher and Yang Yang.
For more information about the Special Olympics, please visit their website at www.specialolympics.org.____________________________________________________________________________
Torchbearers John Amaechi and Nadia Comaneci posing with the Olympic Torch on the viewing platform of the North Greenwich Arena, London. (Photo credit: The Telegraph)
Bart and Nadia hanging with some Olympic Legends at the 2012 London Olympics
Exclusive Webisode: Why Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci Support the Special Olympics
Husband-and-wife team Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, both gold medal gymnasts, also share a commitment to the Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. Watch as Bart reveals how the Special Olympics transforms lives around the world and carries on the mission of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the organization's founder.
Nadia's 2012 Olympic Visa Commercial (Narrated by Morgan Freeman)