Under crystal blue skies at Rohrmoos in Schladming at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Andre Berg of Oslo, Norway, wears a mischievous grin—he’s just won gold in the Snowboarding Super G.
“It was a beautiful day for a race with conditions that allowed me to be both precise on the curves and fast, my favorite combination,” says Berg sporting another smile.
Training two or three days per week, Berg, 31, is an avid snowboarder who has been competing in Special Olympics events for 10 years. He has also competed twice in the X Games in Aspen, Colorado, in 2016 and 2017. Biking and swimming are part of his cross training routine to keep fit and ready for the slopes during off seasons.
A competitor at heart, Berg has not always been a Special Olympics athlete. At age 10 he was severely injured in a car accident and spent several years in a wheelchair recovering. When he turned 13, his mother put him on a snowboard to help him work on his balance. He took off, literally, and never looked back.
When not on the slopes, Berg works 25-hours per week for a company that provides assistance to families with children who have various disabilities. He has also become a vocal advocate for people with intellectual disabilities, and often speaks publicly about his own experiences. In his spare time, Berg is an accomplished photographer.