Special Olympics International selected PierceFootwear to provide 2,000 pairs of newly produced T2 footwear. Chief Designer Marianna Anagnastou from Greece, made the T2 especially for the Special Olympic athletes use in Austria. Athletes from 90 countries were clinically fit by Pierce technicians at the Healthy Athletes Fit Feet booth. The foot characteristics that Pierce technicians were trained to measure included specific foot length, width and height. Special Olympics athletes experienced a 3D fit for their first time in life. Special Olympics athletes were quick to try on the shoes to make sure they could work the new latch system. In summary, this was the first experience for all athlete using the latch system which provided a lace-less fit, quick adjustment and the ultimate custom fit.
Special Olympics Athletes Adopt the T2
The T2 did not need any break-in period due to the care in precise, custom fitting. The athletes donned the shoes in events such as floor hockey and floor ball. The rigors of the floor sports demanded quick start, stop and lateral movements. Athletes put the shoes to test. The new T2 outsole mold is one of the lightest on the market. A size 10 shoe weighs in at 9 oz. Special Olympics athletes in floor hockey competition experienced greatly increased grip strength on the concrete floor. By empowering ?athletes with this new footwear technology, PierceFootwear helped everyone with better reaction times. As a result, all athletes spirits were lifted.
Special Olympics athletes Play Unified
Pierce and his management participated with enthusiasm in the Unified floor games as part of the Play Unified movement globally. Both non ID and ID athletes play on the same Unified teams. There are over a million Unified partners that mentor Special Olympic athletes locally thru school programs all over the globe. Unified mentors help athletes gain confidence in their skills adding to their courage, dedication and passion to sports. All winter games athletes exhibit great team spirit and bravado. For these athletes, it was not only about just winning, but participation and opportunity to be on a global stage. Everyone in the world tuning in felt the emotion of the athletes as they strove for excellence.
ESPN Coverage of Special Olympics athletes in Austria
The final floor hockey womans game was played into several overtimes. After 13 overtimes, the game was called due to potential exhaustion of the athletes. The Bangladesh women won the gold in Pierce shoes. The USA men team won the bronze medal in Pierce shoes. ESPN covered the events every day and broadcast the winning teams on Pierce shoes. ESPN caught spontaneous athlete reactions to a non-laced shoe. Special Olympic athletes have manual dexterity issues with tying laces which Pierce helps eliminate with a non-laced shoe. All in all, Pierce put shoes on 2,000 athletes from 90 countries around the globe.
Video footage of Healthy Athletes Fit Feet Clinic was provided courtesy of ESPN
This event marked the launch of Pierce Footwear globally and is a pinnacle event for the management team that designed and witnessed Pierce shoes in action. Pierce began working with Special Olympics athletes in 2104 at part of the National Games in New Jersey. Pierce placed 10 pairs of first made prototypes on NorCal Track and Field athletes, making the medal podium in the shoes. The following year, Pierce donated 500 pairs of recovery sandals to the USA Team, custom fitting all athletes. It was in Los Angeles that Pierce witnessed the first ever triathlon event staged by Special Olympics. Pierce and Kester Edwards, special sports coordinator for SOI met and cemented their ongoing mission to provide shoes to Special Olympic athletes. “We unify athletes around the globe one foot at a time”.
“We are truly grateful to have been a part of this winter games experience and this has been the most global, positive impact we have had on people in our sports careers” said Pierce in a wrap-up on the final day of events after fitting 2,000 athletes.
PierceFootwear is a new Bend, Oregon based footwear brand driving footwear innovation with its critical utility upper patent allowing fast, direct step-in to footwear. PierceFootwear changes the game of FIT, ADJUSTABILITY AND COMFORT across all footwear categories.