Heartbeat for the World

MARCH 14 - 25, 2017 - Austria

The Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Austria in 1993 and has returned to the country in 2017. Join us as we see LETR representatives Sgt. Mark McCorkle and Lt. Bill Proll as they run in the Torch Run Final Leg. Also, we'll follow the El Cajon Gulls, our Floor Hockey team from the San Diego region, as theycompete alongside 2,700 athletes from 107 countries at the World Winter Games!

Welcome from Tim Shriver Winter World Games WebsiteOfficial Results

Updates from the Games

Meet the El Cajon Gulls

Coaches: Rodney Hurn, Kimberly Hurn and Elizabeth Selbe

Jordan Bradley

El Cajon

Arianna Gulick

El Cajon

Christopher Hurn

El Cajon

Haley James


Casey Lucore


Charles Martindale

El Cajon

Jessica Moland

El Cajon

Jordan Pfauth

San Diego

John Carlo Razo

El Cajon

Joe Salame

San Diego

Thomas Selbe


Zachary Wine


Ryan Woods

El Cajon

Stories from our 2017 World Games Athletes

The Hurn family got involved with Special Olympics as their son, Christopher, was starting high school. Christopher, who has type 1 diabetes and was born with part of a chromosome missing, attempted traditional sports but his motor skills were slower than his peers. As a result, Christopher was teased and hassled, his father Rodney said. Eventually, they found their way to Special Olympics and Rodney started coaching as an assistant.

Rodney took over the coaching duties when the previous head coach moved to Los Angeles. He wanted to ensure that the athletes still had a program to compete in. His wife, Kimberly, joined as an assistant coach and took over “behind-the-scenes” duties such as emailing the athletes’ parents, travel accommodations and upcoming events. The Hurns also allow the parents of other athletes on the team to attend practice and watch, as well as network and share ideas that have helped in their children’s personal lives as it relates to their intellectual disabilities.

In addition to floor hockey, Christopher also competes in basketball and track and field. Rodney said Special Olympics gives his son a better chance to compete and do so with other individuals at a similar skill level. In general, Rodney noticed, Special Olympics has made a "huge difference" in his players' social skills.

"It’s changed our lives," Rodney said. "It basically is our life."

Other notes:

  • Rodney is 51; Kimberly is 48; Christopher is 19 and started with Special Olympics in 2012
  • Rodney played ice hockey growing up and had a passion for it so that’s where the interest in floor hockey came into play
  • Rodney has organized opportunities for Special Olympics athletes to showcase their skills with the San Diego State basketball team and Harlem Globetrotters, and they’ve played soccer on the field during halftime of San Diego Chargers’ final preseason football game each of the last five years

Elizabeth Selbe was always upfront with her son, Special Olympics athlete Thomas, about his intellectual disabilities. Thomas has autism, as well as ADD and Tourette's Syndrome.

But that hasn’'t stopped Thomas, and he's parlayed that open approach into public speaking appearances. Thomas would tag along with his mother to the walk for Autism Speaks, and four years ago he was invited to speak at a kickoff event in Los Angeles. It was the first time Thomas had ever spoken in front of a crowd, which included about 200 people.

Elizabeth said Thomas "spoke from the heart," and the fearless approach in which he shared his story still pulls at his mother's heart strings.

“He just kind of commanded the room," Elizabeth said. "I was blown away at how well he did. He has no fear of speaking in front of people. He's very outgoing now and very sociable."

"I still cry when I think about it. I had no idea he was going to say this. He said, 'Kids with autism and other disabilities need the chance that everybody else has. I have three words for you: there is hope.' Drop mic, you know?"

Elizabeth added: "We told him, 'Yes, you have these special needs, but you can do this. You can do whatever you set out to do.' And that’s what he tells his friends. He’s very open with people about his disabilities or different abilities."

Thomas is now a Special Olympics Global Messenger and member of the floor hockey team that will compete at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.

Other notes:

  • Thomas Selbe is 23 and is from Santee
  • Works with Goodwill and assists a Sunday School teacher with a preschool class
  • Special Olympics has provided Thomas “life lessons,” such as how to deal with wins and losses