FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

MEDIA CONTACT:   

Loren_Worthington, SpoFit – lorenw@abil.org 602-386-4278
Jon Brodsky, City of Phoenix – jon.brodsky@phoenix.gov 602-262-6864

EVENT CONTACT:   

Kelsey Brocken, SpoFit – kelseyb@abil.org 602-386-4757

January 6, 2014

Phoenix, AZ –   SpoFit and the city of Phoenix FitPHX program announced today that SpoFit will be hosting a Gateway to Gold talent identification event, 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in conjunction with U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee.  The goal is to help discover physically disabled and visually impaired athletes who could compete for Team USA.

“Gateway to Gold is precisely what SpoFit is all about,” says Brielle Carter, SpoFit’s manager. “We know there are people with disabilities who possess extraordinary willpower and physical abilities.  We’re excited to host an event that might create an opportunity for someone to pursue the Olympic dream.”

The Gateway to Gold talent identification event will introduce individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments, including youth, adults and military veterans, to the Paralympic sports of cycling, biathlon, rowing and swimming, with hopes of identifying hopefuls for future U.S. Paralympic Teams. As a part of the clinic, prospective athletes will be tested on a variety of skills that can help determine their aptitude for Paralympic sports.

“The U.S. Paralympic Team strives to be the best in the world. But we cannot get to the top of the podium without the help of our community partners like SpoFit and the city of Phoenix,” said Charlie Huebner, USOC Chief of Paralympics. “With SpoFit’s help in hosting this Gateway to Gold talent identification clinic, U.S. Paralympics might find the next great Paralympic champion in your backyard.”

Gateway to Gold talent identification events are being held throughout the country. “Phoenix is proud to host this world-class event at the SpoFit facility,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “We have top-level paralympic talent and it is great to see Phoenix athletes have a chance to become the next Team USA stars.” The event ties in well with other programs being promoted by the city. “Working with the Paralympics is a great example of FitPHX highlighting fitness and wellness for the whole community,” said Councilman Daniel Valenzuela.  “We’re excited that Gateway to Gold will show off some of Arizona’s finest young athletes, and we’re dedicated to bringing these kinds of programs to Phoenix.”

For registration information for the Phoenix, Arizona, event, visit www.spofit.org or call 602-386-4566. Participation is free.  No prior experience is required. Location:  SpoFit  5031 E Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85034

Launched in 2013, Gateway to Gold is the new U.S. Paralympics initiative for identifying and recruiting Paralympic eligible athletes who show an ability to compete in the future at an elite level. Gateway to Gold participants go through sport-specific tests and evaluations to determine if they are ready for the next level of opportunity in Paralympic sport.

About SpoFit:
The Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit) opened on October 31st, 2011. The center is designed to provide health, fitness and recreation programs to individuals with disabilities and their families. SpoFit is a Paralympic Sport Club, and serves as a venue for local, national and international adaptive sporting events. The center is co-located with the Disability Empowerment Center (DEC) in Phoenix, Arizona. The DEC and the SpoFit are owned and managed by Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL).

About FitPHX
FitPHX is a citywide initiative, led by Mayor Stanton, Councilman Valenzuela and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman, with the goal of improving health and wellness in the region and making the Phoenix area one of the healthiest in the nation.  For more information, visit phoenix.gov/fitphx.

About U.S. Paralympics:
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promoting excellence in the lives of persons with physical and visual disabilities. Visit the U.S. Paralympics website for more.

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