Two local Special Olympics speed skaters athletes will join 2,700 participants from around the globe next month for the year’s largest humanitarian and sports...

Two local Special Olympics speed skaters athletes will join 2,700 participants from around the globe next month for the year’s largest humanitarian and sports event, the Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Christina Dryer of Chester and Craig Licorish Jr. of Chesterfield will be representing the United States as part of

CRAIG LICORISH JR.

CRAIG LICORISH JR.

Special Olympics USA at the Games, which will be held March 14-25 in Graz, Ramsau, and Schladming, Austria. As a whole, Special Olympics USA includes 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.

CHRISTINA DRYER

CHRISTINA DRYER

Dryer will go for the gold in speed skating next month. For Dryer, attending World Games is a great honor. If it wasn’t for Special Olympics, she notes she would not have had the incredible opportunity to travel and compete on a world stage. Dryer, 27, has been involved in Special Olympics for 16 years; this will be her first time participating in World Games. Outside of speed skating, she loves to roller skate and play basketball and softball.

Licorish, 16, will be hitting the ice rink next month in search of a win. Special Olympics has allowed him to meet new and interesting people outside of his family and school, and has helped increase his confidence. A 10-year veteran of Special Olympics, Licorish is looking forward to attending his first World

Games, traveling abroad and learning about other countries and people. “I must put my best foot forward and show that I deserve to represent my country,” he said.

In addition to the two athletes, the Virginia team includes Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg Runner, Investigator Maureen McClanahan with the Christiansburg Police Department; medical team volunteer Dave Pawlowski, Special Olympics Virginia’s Vice President of Programs; speed skating coach Kurt Krumreich of Virginia Beach; Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and Virginia athlete David Egan; and Special Olympics Virginia’s David Thomason, Vice President of Advancement and Global Messenger mentor.

Two other Richmond-area nonprofits also will be participating in the Games’ Opening and Closing Ceremonies: Miracles in Motion and SPARC the School of Performing Arts in the Richmond Community. Taylor Carpenter, one of two local athletes who will be dancing with Miracles in Motion, also is a Special Olympics Virginia basketball player. Additionally, Mechanicsville native Jason Mraz will be performing during the Games’ Opening Ceremony.

Every two years, Special Olympics holds its flagship event, the World Games, demonstrating sports excellence, which promotes equality, respect, and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Transcending the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture, and religion, the world will come together to celebrate inclusion around the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos, and Ramsau, Austria, March 14-25.

More than 2,700 athletes and 1,100 coaches representing 107 countries, along with 3,000 volunteers and thousands more spectators, will participate in and watch exciting sports and community events. This is the second time Austria has hosted the World Winter Games, having also staged the event in 1993. ESPN is the official broadcast partner of the 2017 Special Olympics World Games, allowing an unprecedented amount of viewers around the world to be introduced to the power of Special Olympics.

To learn more, visit www.austria2017.org.

ESPN and ABC will be covering the events from March 18-26. Coverage will include interviews with athletes, daily competition showcases featuring highlights from the day’s action, profiles, feature stories and on-site reporting. The World Winter Games will also be featured on SportsCenter and other ESPN programming during the course of the week. Here is the TV schedule to date:

Sat, Mar 18 LIVE: Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 — Opening Ceremony 2-5 p.m. ABC
Sun, Mar 19 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 2-3 p.m. ABC
Mon, Mar 20 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-6:30 p.m. ESPN2
Tue, Mar 21 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Wed, Mar 22 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Thu, Mar 23 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Fri, Mar 24 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 6-7 p.m. ESPN2
Sun, Mar 26 Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 — Best of the Games 2-3 p.m. ABC
NOTE: All shows will also be simulcast on the ESPN App and WatchESPN