ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA, 22 JUNE 2021 – WTA Charities and Special Olympics have announced an expanded partnership through virtual experiences to inspire and engage athletes from both organizations, including a webinar series, one-on-one video calls between Special Olympics athletes and WTA stars, and an inclusive course on sport and fashion.
Gaby Dabrowski Named Special Olympics Champion Ambassador
Top WTA doubles player and two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion Gaby Dabrowski has been named a Special Olympics Champion Ambassador. Gaby has been participating in a Special Olympics virtual webinar series which she began last year and that left such an impression on her she wanted a deeper connection with the global inclusion efforts.
The webinar series which is an ongoing initiative, features WTA players, coaches, and health and wellness professionals who address tennis skills across a wide range of topics including nutrition, resilience, perseverance, and mental health. The series is geared towards Special Olympics athletes and provides tools and resources for them to continuously improve their tennis game and life skills. Click here to view the webinar.
“I am thrilled to be part of Special Olympics and look forward to fostering deep connections with athletes with a focus on getting more girls and women in the game,” said Dabrowski upon acceptance of the role. As part of her role, Dabrowski will help build the tennis skills of Special Olympics athletes.
Connecting Fashion and Sport
In a unique collaboration connecting fashion and sport, the world-renowned New School’s Parsons School of Design is joining forces with Special Olympics athletes, WTA players, and staff to conceptualize and design tennis uniforms 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 have appeared as guest lecturers in the Parsons Design class to share their experience and knowledge in wearability and athletic fashion. In addition, Kathleen Stroia, WTA Senior Vice President of Sports Science and Medicine, shared her expertise on performance clothing with the student designers to help them think more holistically about adaptive clothing designs.
“What we have 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 from the 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 part of the Call To Action initiative by Special Olympics, 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 happening,” said Keys. To watch the video, click here.
“Special Olympics athletes have long looked up to WTA players,” said Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics. “Opportunities to engage with role models like Gaby Dabrowski and Madison Keys inspire our athletes to stay competition-ready. We look forward to many more athlete experiences with WTA throughout 2021 and beyond.”
“WTA Charities champions an inclusive culture that provides opportunities for all,” explained Austin. “These initiatives will continue throughout the year as WTA Charities and Special Olympics continue to share the importance of diversity and inclusion in sports.”
WTA Charities and the Special Olympics have been working 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 foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Special Olympics Unified Sports® partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type 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 across the globe. Our mission is to empower girls and women to live fully and support our WTA communities worldwide through initiatives promoting equality, education, leadership, and health and wellness.
About the WTA:
Founded by Billie Jean King in 1973 on the principle of equal opportunity, the WTA is the global leader in women’s professional sports. The WTA is one of the world’s most recognizable and high-profile sports organizations, consisting of more than 1650 players representing approximately 85 nations, all competing to earn WTA rankings points and prestigious tournament titles. The WTA Tour comprises of over 50 events and four Grand Slams, spanning six continents and nearly 30 countries and regions with a global audience of over 700 million. The Tour culminates with the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, honoring the season’s top singles and doubles players based on the final standings of the Porsche Race to Shenzhen leaderboard. Further information on the WTA can be found at wtatennis.com.