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2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games

March 24, 2017

“Heartbeat for the World”

We have seen it time and time again: Sports open doors for people. These opportunities vary for everyone – a college scholarship, new friendships, jumpstarting a healthy lifestyle, travel, or something as simple – yet profoundly important – as self-esteem.

The Special Olympics ensure ALL people are able to receive these benefits. This international program shows the world that people with intellectual disabilities (ID) can excel in sport and life when given the chance.

Kyle Dehn, an 18 year old from New Jersey, is one of those people. As a youth with autism, Kyle hadn’t spoken his first word by the age of six. However, just a few years later he was learning how to ski at the age of nine. Since that time, Kyle has found his niche in the world: sports and physical activity.

He is a person who is truly rewarded by participating in sport. He has said that skiing helps him stay focused and grounded, and training and competing has introduced him to people and friends. He has trained for years with the Vernon Mountaineers, a skiing group in New Jersey. Kyle also competes in lacrosse, karate, football, and basketball with his neurotypical peers.

And now Kyle is in Austria participating in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, an international event with close to 2,700 athletes representing 107 countries. Kyle has represented the United States in four different events, placing 4th and 6th in two of them.

Join us in congratulating Kyle on his fantastic runs down the slope. We look forward to seeing him compete for years to come!

To learn more about the Special Olympics and the 2017 World Winter Games, please visit

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