Two Pittsburg Athletes Selected to Attend World Games

Two Pittsburg Athletes Selected to Attend World Games
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Special Olympics Kansas is proud to announce that two athletes, one coach and one Law Enforcement Torch Run officer from the state will be attending the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The delegation will represent the United States at the Games, which are being held March 14-25 in Austria.

The two athletes, Ashley Spriggs and Jerad Leatherman, and their coach are members of the New Hope Bulldogs in Pittsburgh. At the games, they will compete in snowshoeing, coached by John Lair.

Spriggs and Leatherman are among approximately 150 athletes who make up the Special Olympics USA team, while Lair is among about 40 coaches advising the team.

Spriggs has been involved in Special Olympics for 10 years and plays 10 other sports besides snowshoeing, including softball, track and field, powerlifting and basketball. Leatherman has been a Special Olympics athlete for three years. In addition to snowshoeing, he plays 14 other sports, including flag football, softball, fishing, powerlifting and basketball.

To prepare for the Games, Spriggs has been working out five days a week, two times per day and Leatherman has been working out six days a week, two times per day. They both train in the gym with elliptical machines, bikes and in the swimming pool. Spriggs’s morning routine usually consists of riding the stationary bike for an hour. In the afternoon, she rides the elliptical for an hour and lifts weights. Jerad’s morning routine typically includes riding the stationary bike for an hour and walking a mile. In the afternoon, he rides the elliptical for an hour and lifts weights. Once a week, they both go to the pool for work on endurance training with Lair.

Cpl. James Browning from the Merriam Police Department will also attend the games as the Kansas representative in the Final Leg of the Torch Run. Browning is one of 85 LETR runners from around the globe who will be carrying the Flame of Hope throughout cities, towns and communities across Austria during the week leading up to the Games. The Final Leg will end at the WM-Stadium Planai in Schladming as part of the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

Browning has been involved with LETR for 33 years, including the past 12 years with the Kansas LETR. He first got involved in 1984 while he was serving in the Army. He volunteered to assist with the Washington State Games, and seeing the effort and joy of the athletes there is what has kept him involved throughout the years. He was chosen to represent the Kansas LETR by his peers based on his involvement and dedication to both LETR and SOKS.

“I am very excited to represent Kansas Law Enforcement, meet all of my team and most importantly…, meet our Austrian Special Olympics athlete, Albert, and his family,” Browning said. Albert Masser is one of 10 Special Olympics athletes from around the world who will be joining Browning and the other officers on the Final Leg.

to donate to help Ashley & Jerad, visit For more information about Browning and the other officers and athletes running the Final Leg, visit For more information about the 2017 World Winter Games, visit