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Special Olympics Vermont Athlete Heading to 2016 X Games

X Games Aspen 2016 will mark 20 years of winter events, celebrating the progression of the winter version of X Games from its debut in Big Bear, Calif., into a full action sports and youth lifestyle festival as the event takes over Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, January 28 – 31, 2016. The 2016 event will again feature action sports competitions, world-class musical performances, and a festival village, with live coverage on ESPN and ABC and an extensive array of content across digital platforms.

X Games Aspen will welcome the disciplines of Snowmobile Freestyle and Skier X back to the event lineup. Skier X will return for the first time since 2012 and Snowmobile Freestyle since 2014. A fully-medaled adaptive sport lineup featuring Mono Skier X, Snowboarder X Adaptive and SnoCross Adaptive is back, while the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding dual slalom competition – where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities compete together – also returns following its successful debut last year in Aspen.

As one of only 10 Special Olympics athletes, Special Olympics Vermont’s own Christopher Mitchell from the Rutland Program was chosen to participate in Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding Races as part of this year’s X Games in Aspen, Colorado on Thursday, January 28th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CST. Christopher will partner with American snowboarder, Chloe Kim, who is the youngest Winter X Games gold medalist ever.

Christopher competes in the Special Olympics Vermont Winter Games as an advanced snowboarder and underwent a rigorous application process including a written statement and a video to be considered. He follows in the footsteps of fellow Vermonter and snowboarder, Hannah Teter, who is a 6-time X Games medalist in the SuperPipe event and an Olympic gold medalist. Teter serves as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador and helped lead the inaugural Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding dual slalom event in 2015.

Held for the second time as an official part of the X Games lineup, 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 was also the global media partner for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles in July 2015.

ESPN and ABC will televise a combined 16 hours of live X Games Aspen 2016 competition. Forthcoming details on the X Games athletes, full competition schedule, music and more will be available on at a later date.

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