ESPN'S Superior Beings Presentation: Extraordinary Athletes With Disabilities Use Sports to Change Misfortune to Triumph

Feb 17, 2004, 00:00 ET from ESPN Original Entertainment

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) has
 produced a compelling documentary that celebrates the extraordinary
 achievements of several disabled athletes. Superior Beings is a one-hour show
 that highlights excellence and the ability of sports to transform lives.
 After a successful first run, ESPN2 will air an encore presentation on Friday,
 February 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET.  The program was developed in partnership with
 DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company and Team ESPN, the
 corporate outreach program of ESPN, Inc. A DC preview will be held Wednesday,
 February 18 from 4-6 p.m. at 102 Irving Street, NW.
     Tricia Downing was a competitive cyclist on a training ride when she
 collided with a car and sustained a spinal cord injury. Her back was shattered
 and broken. Her Recreation Therapist said words that made Tricia see the light
 at the end of the tunnel. "You were an athlete before and you'll be an athlete
 when you leave here."  Now Tricia bikes, swims, and weight trains.  Her goal
 is to compete in the triathlon world championships and the Paralympics.
 "There's a point on that ribbon of highway where the words disabled and able-
 bodied come together," says Tricia. "Sports competition shows people what the
 human spirit can do."  Her life is a testament to bridging the worlds of able
 bodied and disabled athletes.
     Superior Beings is stunning in its showcase portrayal of elite athletes
 with disabilities who push their own mental, physical and emotional limits to
 achieve remarkable goals. Each athlete conveys his or her unique story of the
 essential role sports plays in building a productive, independent life.
 Profiles include Erik Weihenmayer, who in 2001 became the first blind climber
 to reach the summit Mount Everest; Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a 13-year-old bi-
 amputee who has competed in numerous Triathlons; and Hugh Herr, who started
 the leg laboratory at MIT after losing his legs from a condition caused by
 severe weather during a rock climbing expedition.  The program also showcases
 Special Olympics and its historic role in paving the way for all athletes with
 cognitive disabilities. Superior Beings is narrated by blind
 athlete/entertainer Tom Sullivan, spokesperson for program sponsor Lions Club
 International.
     The documentary highlights technological advances that enable athletes
 with disabilities to participate and excel in their chosen sport. Rudy Garcia-
 Tolson's high tech prostheses for running, walking, and biking border on
 bionic. Hugh Herr of MIT notes that in the near future he expects "amputees
 will be running faster than Carl Lewis and jumping higher than the best
 basketball players."
     George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports said, "We're
 especially proud of this program. It's a testament to the human spirit and
 demonstrates that even with major obstacles that life may present, the desire
 and ability to achieve in athletics is universal."
     Superior Beings will not only impact the way people view disabled athletes
 but serve to educate and inspire K-12 students.  Public and private schools
 nationwide will have access to Superior Beings as part of ESPN's participation
 in Cable in the Classroom.  Superior Beings kicks off Team ESPN's Rise to the
 Challenge program, which seeks to increase awareness of the roles sports can
 and do play in personal and physical challenges -- forever bridging the gap
 between tragedy and triumph.
     DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company helped sponsor
 this program.  They are dedicated to making the dreams of families and
 children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and
 volunteerism in areas of learning, compassion, the arts and the environment.
 For more information on Disney's corporate public service efforts, please
 visit our Web site at www.disneyhand.com.
     Team ESPN, ESPN's public service outreach initiative, develops and
 supports sports-themed programs that use the power of sports to help their
 fans help others.
 
 

SOURCE ESPN Original Entertainment
    WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) has
 produced a compelling documentary that celebrates the extraordinary
 achievements of several disabled athletes. Superior Beings is a one-hour show
 that highlights excellence and the ability of sports to transform lives.
 After a successful first run, ESPN2 will air an encore presentation on Friday,
 February 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET.  The program was developed in partnership with
 DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company and Team ESPN, the
 corporate outreach program of ESPN, Inc. A DC preview will be held Wednesday,
 February 18 from 4-6 p.m. at 102 Irving Street, NW.
     Tricia Downing was a competitive cyclist on a training ride when she
 collided with a car and sustained a spinal cord injury. Her back was shattered
 and broken. Her Recreation Therapist said words that made Tricia see the light
 at the end of the tunnel. "You were an athlete before and you'll be an athlete
 when you leave here."  Now Tricia bikes, swims, and weight trains.  Her goal
 is to compete in the triathlon world championships and the Paralympics.
 "There's a point on that ribbon of highway where the words disabled and able-
 bodied come together," says Tricia. "Sports competition shows people what the
 human spirit can do."  Her life is a testament to bridging the worlds of able
 bodied and disabled athletes.
     Superior Beings is stunning in its showcase portrayal of elite athletes
 with disabilities who push their own mental, physical and emotional limits to
 achieve remarkable goals. Each athlete conveys his or her unique story of the
 essential role sports plays in building a productive, independent life.
 Profiles include Erik Weihenmayer, who in 2001 became the first blind climber
 to reach the summit Mount Everest; Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a 13-year-old bi-
 amputee who has competed in numerous Triathlons; and Hugh Herr, who started
 the leg laboratory at MIT after losing his legs from a condition caused by
 severe weather during a rock climbing expedition.  The program also showcases
 Special Olympics and its historic role in paving the way for all athletes with
 cognitive disabilities. Superior Beings is narrated by blind
 athlete/entertainer Tom Sullivan, spokesperson for program sponsor Lions Club
 International.
     The documentary highlights technological advances that enable athletes
 with disabilities to participate and excel in their chosen sport. Rudy Garcia-
 Tolson's high tech prostheses for running, walking, and biking border on
 bionic. Hugh Herr of MIT notes that in the near future he expects "amputees
 will be running faster than Carl Lewis and jumping higher than the best
 basketball players."
     George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports said, "We're
 especially proud of this program. It's a testament to the human spirit and
 demonstrates that even with major obstacles that life may present, the desire
 and ability to achieve in athletics is universal."
     Superior Beings will not only impact the way people view disabled athletes
 but serve to educate and inspire K-12 students.  Public and private schools
 nationwide will have access to Superior Beings as part of ESPN's participation
 in Cable in the Classroom.  Superior Beings kicks off Team ESPN's Rise to the
 Challenge program, which seeks to increase awareness of the roles sports can
 and do play in personal and physical challenges -- forever bridging the gap
 between tragedy and triumph.
     DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company helped sponsor
 this program.  They are dedicated to making the dreams of families and
 children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and
 volunteerism in areas of learning, compassion, the arts and the environment.
 For more information on Disney's corporate public service efforts, please
 visit our Web site at www.disneyhand.com.
     Team ESPN, ESPN's public service outreach initiative, develops and
 supports sports-themed programs that use the power of sports to help their
 fans help others.
 
 SOURCE  ESPN Original Entertainment