Local Special Olympics athletes to participate in National Games

Special Olympics Minnesota athletes DJ Gilder and Nick Rosen, both of New Prague, have been selected as members of Team Minnesota and will compete at the 2010 USA National Games in Nebraska, July 18 through the 23 in bowling. Both of the athletes last competed in the 2006 National Games in Iowa.

Gilder, 17, is a nine-year Special Olympics Minnesota veteran. An athlete with the Tri-County Chargers team and a Global Messenger with Special Olympics Minnesota's Athlete Leadership Programs, he has participated in bowling, athletics and equestrian over the years.

Rosen, 22, has remained extremely involved in the Tri-County Chargers team of Special Olympics Minnesota. Through his participation in Special Olympics Minnesota's Athlete Leadership Programs, Rosen says he has been able to improve at his job as a Sam's Club greeter. He also loves the opportunities he has had to meet Vikings athletes and other local celebrities.

Gilder and Rosen hope to raise $600 each to help Special Olympics Minnesota pay for their competition, transportation and housing expenses associated with competing at the National Games. The public can help them reach that goal by sponsoring them through the Sponsor-an-Athlete website: sponsoranathlete.kintera.org. To sponsor a specific athlete, click Sponsor a Participant, then enter the athlete's name where prompted. To make a general team donation, search for the participant Team Minnesota.

The Team Minnesota athletes include 16 track and field athletes; eight aquatic athletes; a full-court basketball team; eight bowlers; eight golfers; two gymnasts; eight bocce athletes and a softball team.

Gilder is the son of Rob and Charlette Gilder. Rosen is the son of Jim and Jennifer Rosen

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