Two State Cops, Four Local Athletes Headed To Special Olympics In Austria

Newark –  Special Olympics Delaware announced that four athletes will be representing the United States, as part of Special Olympics USA at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, The

Delaware State Police Capt. Danny Hall

Games will be held March 14-25, 2017, in Graz, Ramsau and Schladming, Austria.

These athletes include Billy Connor (Newark, Alpine Skiing), Morgan Jungling (Newark, Alpine Skiing), Torie Moore (Newark, Snowshoeing) and Jakai Walker (Wilmington, Snowshoeing).

In addition, Delaware Law Enforcement for Special Olympics has three representatives serving as part of the Final Leg Torch Run at the Games. They are Capt. Danny Hall (Smyrna, Delaware State Police, team leader), Capt. Pete Sawyer (Middletown, Delaware State Police, runner) and Lisa Smith (Newark, Special Olympics staff, logistics).

Danny Hall became a Delaware State Trooper in 1990 and participated in his first Special Olympics Torch Run in 1991. From that moment, he was hooked into volunteering for everything he could for Special Olympics Delaware. Danny has served as a coach, Unified partner, mentor, and as a member of many committees related to Special Olympics. For many police officers, they get into law enforcement to protect and serve the citizens of our jurisdictions.

“After being involved in Special Olympics Delaware for the past 27 years, part of my job responsibility has grown to protect and serve those with intellectual disabilities and to do everything in his power to change those with negative views on those that are disabled,” Hall said. “I am proud to carry the ‘Flame of Hope’ that all people with intellectual disabilities will be treated equally and given every opportunity available to achieve success. I know with other law enforcement officers around our world this dream is becoming a reality.”

Pete Sawyer has been a police officer for 22 years. He became involved in the Torch Run just three months into his career assisting with traffic control at the Special Olympics Delaware Torch Run. Pete has run in every Torch Run since and has also presented medals to athletes at many events. Pete has served as an agency Torch Run representative and in 2007 became a member of the Delaware Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Executive Board. He currently serves as the law enforcement volunteer coordinator for Delaware. Pete serves as a Criminal Investigations Commander.

Delaware State Police Capt. Pete Sawyer

During the Final Leg of the torch run 10 days before the start of the Games, 80 law enforcement officers from abroad, 10 law enforcement officers from Austria, 10 international Special Olympics athletes as well as numerous police cadets from Austria will carry the Olympic flame from Bregenz (Vorarlberg) through 50 towns and municipalities located in all Austrian provinces where it will be welcomed and cheered by an enthusiastic crowd.

The torch run through the streets and at various ceremonies at town centers will be used for promotional activities to raise awareness for the Games. The highlight of the international torch run will take place on March 18 during the opening ceremony at Planai stadium in Schladming when the law enforcement officers will hand the torch over to an athlete who will ignite the Olympic fire – the Flame of Hope – in the cauldron.

Special Olympics USA is the national team that represents the United States at the Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games. The 210-member delegation is comprised of 150 athletes, 40 coaches and approximately 20 delegation members who support team operations. The delegation also includes Special Olympics Unified Sports teams, where people with and without intellectual disabilities compete together, as teammates. Team members will compete in seven sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoeing and speed skating.

“Attending a World Games is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and for our athletes competing, it is the ultimate payoff for all the hard work that goes into training and preparing physically and mentally to compete at the sports’ highest level,” said Ann Grunert, Special Olympics Delaware executive director. “And for our three representatives with the Torch Run, their selection to be part of it is a tribute to their efforts here in the First State and their passion for what Special Olympics represents. We couldn’t be prouder and hope that the entire state will join us in supporting these exceptional athletes and our three Torch Run representatives as they make their journey to Austria.”

Every two years, the world transcends the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion to come together for the Special Olympics World Games. Alternating between summer and winter Games, this event is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, which promotes equality, tolerance and acceptance around the world.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these athletes to demonstrate their athletic abilities, competing at the highest level on the world stage, and to have life and cultural experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” said Chris Hahn, Head of Delegation for Special Olympics USA. “I encourage every American to cheer on these inspiring athletes, to share in their triumphs and to take pride in knowing that they will represent our country with excellence and honor.”

Organizers said that this year’s event is expected to be the largest Special Olympics World Winter Games in history. An estimated 2,600 athletes from 106 nations will compete in 9 Olympic-type sports at the 2017 Special Olympics World Games: Floorball, Floor Hockey, Stick Shooting, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing.

ESPN will bring extensive coverage to sports fans and supporters of the Special Olympics movement around the world, according to the Special Olympics. ESPN’s coverage, from March 18-25, will mark the first-ever global coverage for a World Winter Games event.

Image Credits: Special Olympics Delaware

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