Six athletes and one coach have been selected from Colorado to join Team USA at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The Games will take place January 29-February 5, 2013, in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea. Special Olympics Team USA is comprised of 151 athletes, 44 coaches, four medical personnel, and management team members from throughout the United States. At the Games, athletes will compete in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, speed skating, figure skating, floor hockey and demo sport floorball. To learn more about the 2013 World Winter Games and Special Olympics Team USA, visit the Team USA website.
Meet Team Colorado
Alex Bender, alpine skiing
Alex Bender of Carbondale, Colo., will be competing in alpine skiing at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Bender has also competed in bowling, swimming and track and field during her time as a Special Olympics Colorado participant. She went to the 2010 National Games for track and field. Bender graduated from Basalt High School with a full academic diploma in 2012 and is now employed at Timbo’s pizza and the child care center at Snowmass Mountain. She was wait listed at The College of New Jersey and is taking a year off to work in the community. Bender spends some of her free time volunteering at WindWalkers, a therapeutic riding center as well as other places in the community. She enjoy horseback riding, watching Basalt High School football games and spending time with her friends. Special Olympics Colorado gives Bender a chance to shine within her peer group. She has developed confidence, friendships and understands the importance of being part of a team and respecting her coaches and fellow athletes. Bender says representing the state of Colorado and Team USA at the World Winter Games makes her very happy and excited. “Everyone is proud of me, and I am proud of me. Everyone is happy for me,” Bender said.
Amanda Douglass, figure skating
Amanda has been competing in Special Olympics for many years in swimming and figure skating, winning several medals and ribbons. The Arvada, Colo, native will be representing Colorado on Team USA in figure skating at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Amanda is employed as a courtesy clerk at King Soopers.
Cody Field, snowboarding
Cody Field of Centennial, Colo., will be competing in snowboarding at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. A student in a transition program at Cheery Creek High School, Field has won many snowboarding medals during his eight-year career with Special Olympics. This will be his first World Games. Special Olympics has allowed Field to compete in a sport he loves, while improving social skills and allowing him to make new friends. He is very excited to be travelling to Korea and hopes to win gold. Field is employed as a courtesy clerk at King Soopers. He is also a Boy Scouts of America Life Scout. He enjoys backpacking, trampoline and video games.
Rachel Kurth, cross country skiing
Rachel Kurth of Denver will be competing in cross country skiing as a member of Team USA at the 2013 World Winter Games. As a Special Olympics athlete, Kurth has participated in Regional and State Championships in bowling, soccer and cross country skiing. This will be her first Special Olympics World Games. Kurth works two days a week Yay! Life!, three days a week at Laradon and volunteers in the community. She also participates in activities with her Lutheran church and is active in Denver Parks and Recreation programs. She is active in Zumba, taking classes three times a week. Special Olympics sports have given Kurth the opportunity to be independent in an area she enjoys. She has met many new people through training and competitions. Because of Special Olymipcs, she has confidence when she takes on new challenges. Kurth loves to compete because she has the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. She is very excited about attending the World Games and seeing a new culture. Outside of sports and her jobs, Kurth enjoys hiking with her family, spending time with her niece, music and dancing.
Michael Sieger, alpine skiing
Michael Sieger of Boulder, Colo., will be competing in alpine skiing at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Sieger has also competed in basketball, bowling, flag football and softball during his 17 years as a Special Olympics athlete. This will be his first World Games. Sieger has a High School Special Education Diploma and has been employed at the University of Colorado Boulder for 20 years in Food Services. He also volunteers at his church. Sieger has won many trophies through his years as a Special Olympics athlete, and says he has made many of his friends through the program as well. He sees the World Games as a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel, be a part of a team and see a different culture. Sieger’s other interests include collecting coins, stamps, pogs, hats; socializing and playing games on the computer; and participating in EXPAND activities through the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department.
Bryan Terry, cross country skiing
Bryan Terry of Aurora, Colo., has been a Special Olympics Colorado athlete for 26 years. He has participated in swimming, cycling, bowling and cross country skiing, earning over 200 medals throughout his career. He has won the majority of his medals in swimming and cross country skiing, which is his favorite sport. He will compete in cross country skiing at the 2013 World Winter Games. Bryan was a member of Team USA at the 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai, China. He enjoyed competing, but says the best part was meeting the other athletes and seeing the similarities among athletes from around the world. Bryan has held numerous jobs in the Denver community. He has been employed by Pizza Hut, Comfort Dental, the Aurora Public Schools janitorial staff, and has served as a transportation assistant for wheelchair passengers going through Denver International Airport. At the 2013 World Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea, Bryan is looking forward to competing in a new place and learning about life in Korea through the sites, language and culture. He says that representing Colorado on Team USA at the World Games and meeting athletes from around the world allows him to see the true meaning of the Special Olympics Athlete Oath. In addition to competing in Special Olympics, Bryan enjoys puzzles, listening to music, reading books, playing video games and going for walks.
Jenny Chase, snowshoeing coach
Jenny Chase is the Special Olympics Colorado Director of Sports & Training. She started volunteering with SOCO in 1997. Since then, she has worked for the organization for a total of 9+ years in multiple positions including, Family & Volunteer Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Area Manager and Competition Manager. She is currently the Director of Sports and Competition where she runs all of the state-level competitions and is in charge of all coaches trainings. Jenny loves to travel, especially with athletes, and will be heading to her fourth Special Olympics World Games this winter in the Republic of Korea.