Special Olympics New York Athlete Charlie Kleiman Selected for X Games in Aspen

Kleiman is one of 10 Special Olympics Athletes to be Paired with Professional Snowboarder for Unified Competition

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NEW YORK CITY, NY — Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman today announced that Special Olympics New York Athlete Charlie Kleiman, of New York City, will be racing in the 5th annual Unified Dual Slalom Competition at X Games in Aspen, Colorado this week. Kleiman will be paired with Professional Snowboarder Jack Mitrani, of Long Island. 

The competition, which will include 10 unified teams made up of a Special Olympics athlete and one of the world’s top action sports snowboarders, will be held Thursday, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m. (MT). It will be streamed live on @XGames Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels 

The Special Olympics Unified Sports program promotes an inclusive sports community by bringing athletes with and without an intellectual disability together to compete on the same team. Special Olympics athletes from across the country will be paired with professional action sport athletes, comprising of a total of ten, two-person teams for Thursday’s event. Each of the team members will participate in one run on each out of two competition courses; the professional athletes racing against one another and the Special Olympics athletes racing one another. The winner will be determined by the best combined times of each team.

“X Games is an exciting event not only because it features some of the world’s best athletes in a thrilling competition, but also because of the awareness and promotion it provides for Special Olympics Unified programming,” said Hengsterman. “Thank you to ESPN for sponsoring this important event once again this year and good luck to Charlie and Jack – the entire Special Olympics New York family will be rooting for you!”

About the New York Team        

Charlie Kleiman, New York City

  • Ambassador for the Adaptive Sports Foundation, helping to promote their activities
  • Recent graduate of Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)
  • Adaptive Sports Foundation volunteer for annual “Ride to Live” event that introduces other students with disabilities to snowboarding
  • Has been snowboarding for more than a decade

Jack Mitrani, Long Island

  • Host of X Games Aspen 2019
  • Snowboarder, entrepreneur, filmmaker, music festival producer and aspiring musician
  • Co-owner and producer of Friendly Gathering music festival
  • Graduate of Stratton Mountain School

Special Olympics New York partners with nearly 150 schools across New York to offer unified sports. More than 8,000 students with and without intellectual disabilities currently participate statewide. Additional information on New York’s programs can be found online.


About Special Olympics New York

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving nearly 68,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with nearly 150 schools statewide to offer unified sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers.  Learn more at www.specialolympicsNY.org and #SpecialOlympicsNY.


Robyn Armando, Vice President Marketing & Communications, (518) 588-3459, rarmando@nyso.org