WTA Charities and Special Olympics Extend Partnership with Virtual Athlete Experiences
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA, JUNE 22, 2021 – WTA Charities and Special Olympics announced an expanded partnership through virtual experiences to inspire and engage athletes from both organizations, including a series of webinars, one-on-one video calls between Special Olympics athletes and stars from the WTA, and an inclusive sports and fashion course.
Gaby Dabrowski named Special Olympics Champion Ambassador
WTA’s top doubles player and two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion Gaby Dabrowski has been named Special Olympics Champions Ambassador. Gaby participated in a series of Special Olympics virtual webinars that she started last year that left such an impression on her that she wanted a deeper connection with global inclusion efforts.
The webinar series, which is an ongoing initiative, features players, coaches, and WTA health and wellness professionals who address tennis skills on a wide range of topics including nutrition, resilience, persistence and mental health. The series is aimed at Special Olympics athletes and provides them with tools and resources to continually improve their tennis game and life skills. Click here to watch the webinar.
“I am thrilled to be a part of Special Olympics and look forward to bonding closely with athletes with a focus on having more girls and women in the game,” Dabrowski said after accepted the role. As part of his role, Dabrowski will help develop the tennis skills of Special Olympics athletes.
Connecting fashion and sport
In a unique fashion-sport collaboration, the world-renowned New School Parsons School of Design is partnering with Special Olympics athletes, WTA players and staff to conceptualize and design uniforms for tennis for Special Olympics athletes. Former World No.5 Daniela Hantuchova, two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Vania King and current Top 50 doubles player Caroline Dolehide appeared as guest speakers in the Parsons Design class to share their experience and their knowledge of portability and athletic fashion. Additionally, Kathleen Stroia, WTA Senior Vice President of Sports Science and Medicine, shared her expertise on performance clothing with student designers to help them think more holistically about tailored clothing designs.
“What we’ve learned is that our WTA players are inspired by the passion and values of Special Olympics athletes, and Special Olympics athletes are inspired by the encouragement and direction of WTA players. We are proud to continue to expand our partnership with Special Olympics, ”said Ann Austin, Senior Director of Community Development for WTA Charities.
Madison Keys surprises Special Olympics athlete
Madison Keys surprised Special Olympics New York tennis player Liza Ambrosini with a phone call in February. As a member of Call to action Special Olympics initiative, the two tennis players talked about training, personal goals and more.
“When I was asked to surprise a Special Olympics athlete with a personal zoom call, it was such an honor to see her reaction when she realized what was going on,” Keys said. To watch the video, click here.
“Special Olympics athletes have long admired female WTA players,” said Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics. “The opportunities to engage with role models like Gaby Dabrowski and Madison Keys inspire our athletes to stay ready to compete. We look forward to many more athlete experiences with the WTA throughout 2021 and beyond. “
“WTA Charities champions an inclusive culture that provides opportunity for all,” explained Austin. “These initiatives will continue throughout the year as the WTA and Special Olympics charities continue to share the importance of diversity and inclusion in sport.”
WTA Charities and Special Olympics have worked together since 2017 continuing to grow and collaborate on ways to engage athletes from both organizations. Stay tuned to www.wtatennis.com/charities for more updates and highlights.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We promote acceptance by all through the power of sport and programs in education, health and leadership. With over six million Special Olympics Unified Sports® athletes and partners in over 190 countries and territories and over one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics offers over 30 Olympic-style sports and over 100 000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About WTA Charities:
WTA Charities is the WTA’s global philanthropic organization dedicated to making a positive impact around the world. Our mission is to empower girls and women to live fully and support our WTA communities around the world through initiatives that promote equality, education, leadership, health and well-being.
Founded by Billie Jean King in 1973 on the principle of equal opportunities, the WTA is the world leader in professional women’s sport. The WTA is one of the most recognized and prominent sports organizations in the world, made up of more than 1,650 players representing approximately 85 nations, all competing to earn WTA ranking points and prestigious tournament titles. The WTA Tour comprises over 50 Grand Slam events and four tournaments, spanning six continents and nearly 30 countries and regions with a global audience of over 700 million people. The Tour culminates with the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, honoring the best players of the season in singles and doubles based on the final standings of the Porsche Race to Shenzhen standings. More information on the WTA is available at wtatennis.com.