For Immediate Release
Inaugural Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, Presented by Audi, Raises $1.2 Million in Total Donations for Best Buddies International and Special Olympics International
David Archuleta, Chris Brown, Michelle Kwan, Carl Lewis and Miss Teen USA Joined 700 Participants to Raise Awareness for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Celebrate the Life and Work of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Washington, D.C.---Seven hundred people both, with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, participated in the inaugural Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, presented by Audi, in the nation’s capital on Saturday, October 23. The Challenge, which featured a 20-mile cycling event, 5K run, 3K walk, the Chris Brown Youth Fun Run and tandem bike races, raised $1.2 million for Best Buddies International and Special Olympics International.
The Challenge was held in honor of the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, to foster greater acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ted Leonsis, Internet pioneer, philanthropist, filmmaker, author, and owner of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, along with his Best Buddy, Ken Holden, a six-time Special Olympics medalist, were co-chairs of this historic event.
In addition to the hundreds of Best Buddies participants and Special Olympics athletes that took part in the event, celebrity supporters, Shriver family members and friends of Eunice Kennedy Shriver were also on hand to celebrate her life’s work. Among those in attendance:
• David Archuleta, 19/Jive Recording Artist, sounded the starting horn for the day’s first race and closed out the event with a live concert at the post-race awards luncheon.
• Carl Lewis, 9-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Best Buddies International Board Member, led the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K walk and a 3K run.
• Chris Brown, pop star, performed an inspiring rendition of the “National Anthem,” and led the Chris Brown Youth Fun Run (1K walk/run.)
• Michelle Kwan, 5-time World Figure Skating Champion, U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy and member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition congratulated and presented awards to Best Buddies, Special Olympics and youth participants as part of Closing Ceremonies.
• Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty led the 20-mile ride, (coming in first place.)
• Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International and Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, participated in several of the day’s events, including the 20-mile ride and the Friendship Races, in honor of their mother’s legacy.
• Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America, the event’s title sponsor, led a team of 60 employees from the company’s headquarters, which raised the most money and finished first in the Corporate Challenge Friendship Race.
• Other notable attendees and participants included: Bobby Julich, Tour de France cyclist; Christian Vande Velde, Tour de France cyclist; Kamie Crawford, Miss Teen USA; and Simone Feldman, Miss Maryland.
The day culminated with Friendship Races, where many of the event’s celebrities teamed-up with Best Buddies participants and Special Olympic athletes to compete on tandem bicycles. At the finish line, the celebrity riders posed for pictures and signed autographs. The day concluded with a luncheon, awards ceremony and star-studded concert for all participants and special guests.
For more than five decades, Eunice Kennedy Shriver worked to break down barriers and improve the lives of millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities around the world. More than 200 million people worldwide have intellectual and developmental disabilities, making this the largest disability group in the world.
Pictures from the Challenge are available on Wire Images at: http://wireimage.com/ItemListings.aspx?igi=460216&nbc1=1
For more information or additional pictures, please contact: Kelly Keane at 410/321-0137 and/or [email protected].
About Best Buddies International
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, as well as 46 countries, with additional ones under development. Best Buddies International currently has seven formal programs – Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs and Ambassadors. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place everyday, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
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