Finchville’s Roy, Elizabethtown’s Chitwood to Selected for Gaming for Inclusion Event
Finchville Special Olympics athlete Caitlin Roy and University of Louisville Unified partner Corey Chitwood will team up to compete in the new Special Olympics Gaming for Inclusion Tournament presented by Microsoft that will be held Sept. 12-18. Roy and Chitwood will compete in the Rocket League Tournament on Sept. 12.
This experience is the next evolution of the award-winning Xbox Virtual Gaming Event hosted in May 2020, when Special Olympics and Microsoft collaborated on a virtual esports tournament to combat the effects of loneliness and isolation brought on by the pandemic. The event won Microsoft the Corporate Community Impact Award at the 2021 Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN for using its platform and the power of sport to create meaningful social change.
Roy has been a Special Olympics athlete for 15 years and was recently named to the Team Kentucky delegation that will compete at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando. Chitwood has been involved in Special Olympics since 2016, beginning as a volunteer. He has participated as a Unified partner both through the Special Olympics Unified Collegiate program while at the University of Louisville, and through the traditional Unified sports program as a bocce partner.
The Special Olympics partnership with Microsoft dates back several years, but e-sports took on added importance during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.
“COVID-19 and the suspension hundreds of thousands of annual in-person events worldwide meant Special Olympics had to pivot to supporting virtual experiences,” said Special Olympics Chief Information and Technology Officer Prianka Nandy in a release. “Our digital transformation partners at Microsoft brought their expertise in developing scalable and accessible digital platforms that allow people of all abilities to build connections with others through the universal language of gaming. Together, we’ve shaped an innovative program that will last well beyond the pandemic.”
Recently, Special Olympics Kentucky athlete Hayden Redmon teamed up with Ember Moon of Special Olympics partner WWE to face off against Thomas Stripe of Special Olympics North Carolina and WWE star Cesaro in a Unified WWE 2k Battlegrounds event.