Local Special Olympics Athletes Selected to Participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races at X Games Aspen
When X Games Aspen returns for a 14th event in Aspen Snowmass, Colo., from January 22-25, the winter action sports and youth lifestyle festival will descend upon Buttermilk Mountain with an expanded and fully-medaled adaptive sport lineup and the return of Snowmobile HillCross and Speed & Style, showcasing the talents of more than 200 world-class athletes from around the globe. X Games Aspen 2015 – with live coverage on ESPN and ABC and an extensive array of content across digital platforms – is also presenting a Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding dual slalom competition on Thursday, Jan. 22. Each team will consist of one Special Olympics athlete and one X Games athlete participating in the dual giant slalom race on Buttermilk Mountain. Athletes will include X Games and Olympic Snowboard SuperPipe gold medalist and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Hannah Teter.
Ten Special Olympics athletes from the U.S. were selected, including Colorado’s own Cody Field (Centennial) and Charles Gutierrez (Thornton), to participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races as part of this year’s X Games in Aspen, Colorado on Thursday, January 22nd from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. CST.
Cody Field fell in love with snowboarding after his sister Kat let him use her snowboard, and he’s been going fast ever since. In 2013, Cody was named the Special Olympics Colorado Male Athlete of the Year following his three gold medal performance at the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in South Korea. Field later received the Outstanding Athlete with Disabilities award at the 2014 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Cody has competed in Special Olympics Colorado since 2005, and over time has extended his training to year-round through his participation in basketball, soccer and volleyball. In 2014, Field also earned a spot on the Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified All-Star soccer team. Field loves Special Olympics because he has made new friends and learned new sports. A 23-year-old graduate of Cherry Creek High School, Field works as a courtesy clerk at King Soopers and enjoys movies, video games and swordsmanship.
Charles Gutierrez has been competing in Special Olympics since 1995. While he started out that year skiing, he saw people snowboarding and continued to ask his coach if he could give it a try. His interest in snowboarding paid off, and he qualified for Special Olympics World Games in 2001 (Anchorage, Alaska) and in 2005 (Nagano, Japan). A 2001 graduate of Thornton High School, Gutierrez works for North Metro Community Services as a groundskeeper at Westminster Parks and Recreation. Gutierrez says experiencing Special Olympics and all that it has to offer makes his life so much better. In addition to snowboarding, Gutierrez enjoys bowling, track & field and softball, as well as fishing, riding his BMX bike and mountain biking on trails nearby.
ESPN and ABC will televise a combined 16 hours of live X Games Aspen 2015 competition. Forthcoming details on the X Games athletes, full competition schedule, music and more will be available on www.xgames.com at a later date.
First held last year, the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding races combine athletes – with and without intellectual disabilities – as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics’ Unified Sports® , which helps unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion. Half a million people worldwide take part in Special Olympics Unified Sports® competitions, helping to break down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. ESPN is the global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports® and also the global media partner for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles next summer.
Field and Gutierrez were part of a group of 10 Special Olympics Colorado snowboarders who last January participated in a Unified Dual Slalom Race at Aspen Mountain along with accomplished snowboarders, including Special Olympics global ambassador Hannah Teter.