America’s Strongest Man and “World’s Strongest” Police Officer Derek Poundstone Joins Special Olympics As Law Enforcement Torch Run® Global Ambassador

February 07, 2011

For Immediate Release

Poundstone to Promote Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run®

Virginia Beach, VA– Special Olympics announced on Saturday that America’s Strongest Man and Naugatuck, CT police officer Derek Poundstone has joined the Special Olympics family as the Movement’s first-ever Law Enforcement Torch Run® Global Ambassador.  In his new role as a Global Ambassador for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics, Poundstone will build on his already established reputation as a law enforcement officer and fitness and health expert to help spread the Special Olympics’ message of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities around the world.

Poundstone was introduced as Global Ambassador on the main stage of a local Special Olympics Virgina event where he presented $10,000 to Special Olympics to sponsor the participation of a Special Olympics athlete in the 2011 Special Olympics World Games Final Leg Torch Run. He immersed himself in the spirit of the day and demonstrated his commitment and “strength” for Special Olympics by bending a frying pan on stage as a part of the announcement.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is the Movement's largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle, encompassing a variety of events including Torch Runs, Polar Plunge® events and the World's Largest Truck Convoy® fundraiser.  More than 85,000 international law enforcement officers participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, raising funds and awareness as well as carrying the Flame of Hope™ to the Opening Ceremonies of local and state/provincial Special Olympics competitions and Games.  The LETR is now present in all 50 U.S. states, Canadian provinces and 46 nations around the world.  In 2010, the LETR raised more than US$38.3 million for Special Olympics Programs around the world and has raised more than US$370 million since its inception in 1981.

"I consider it an honor and privilege to be named the first-ever Law Enforcement Torch Run Global Ambassador," said Poundstone.  "I intend to represent my fellow law enforcement officers from all over the world with pride and dignity.  The strength I have witnessed from the athletes who participate in Special Olympics outweighs anything I could ever achieve inside of a gym."

Naugatuck Chief of Police Christopher Edson added: “The Naugatuck Police Department is very excited about the opportunity that Derek has been given to represent the Naugatuck Police Department as well as Connecticut law enforcement as a LETR Global Ambassador for Special Olympics.  Connecticut law enforcement has been supporting the goals of Special Olympics and our local athletes for many years and we are proud to have Officer Derek Poundstone as our ambassador.”

Poundstone also announced that he and Solae, LLC, the world’s leading soy ingredient company, and Poundstone Power global sponsorship partner, will be a Special Olympics Champion, providing support for a Special Olympics athlete to participate in the LETR Final Leg for the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Greece.

“The Law Enforcement Torch Run is very pleased and honored to have one of our own to step up and serve as our Global Ambassador to champion the cause of Special Olympics as well as represent the passion, dedication, and commitment displayed by thousands of law enforcement members around the world,” said Michael Teem, a retired major with the Raleigh, NC Police Department and Executive Director of the LETR. “Derek is an amazing individual who will use his energy and unique skillset to raise awareness and partner with us to support many of our initiatives.”  

When not training for his next Strong Man competition or enforcing the law, Derek Poundstone is extolling the virtues of "Poundstone Power" – living a high-performance lifestyle through diet, exercise and time management - to people around the world.  The "World's Strongest Cop" has won five major Strong Man titles including the Fortissimus, The Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, The World Strongest Man Super Series and America's Strongest Man.  Poundstone also serves as a full-time police officer in Naugatuck, Connecticut.  The son of an Air Force sergeant, he travels the world as an official spokesperson for soy protein on behalf of Solae, LLC.  Poundstone also hosts “Poundstone Power Radio” which airs nationally on Sirius/XM satellite radio, and recently began writing a monthly column for Muscle and Fitness Magazine, which is published in 13 countries.  For more information, please visit www.poundstonepower.com.

Poundstone joins a select group of athletes and celebrities who are dedicated to spreading the Special Olympics Movement and message worldwide.  These include names such as basketball player Yao Ming; footballer Kaka; PGA golfer Padraig Harrington; Olympic medalists Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci; recording artist Joe Jonas; former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; boxing legend Muhammad Ali; actors Zhang Ziyi and Jackie Chan; and performer Vanessa Williams.

More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family. 

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 every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ballfields 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.

CONTACT:
Mandy Murphy
Special Olympics Inc.
+1 (202) 824 - 0227       
mamurphy@specialolympics.org

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